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Argentina court finds retired officers guilty of involvement in 'Dirty War'

[JURIST] An Argentinian court Friday sentenced retired general Jorge Olivera Rovere and retired colonel Jose Menendez to life sentences for crimes committed during the Argentine military dictatorship, commonly referred to as the "Dirty War" [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Rovere, who had authority over several detention centers during the dictatorship, was found guilty of four murders [Momento24 report] and responsible for 116 abductions and disappearances. He denied his involvement in all of the abductions and two of the murders. Menendez served as second chief of the Air Defense Artillery 101 between 1976 and 1979. Three others were acquitted during the proceedings.

During the "Dirty War," spanning between 1976 and 1983, an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people were forcibly kidnapped or "disappeared" in a government-sponsored campaign against suspected dissidents. In August, former Argentine general Santiago Omar Riveros was convicted of human rights abuses [JURIST report] and sentenced to life in prison. Riveros was found guilty of killing 15-year-old Floreal Avellaneda and detaining his mother during the dictatorship. Also in August, the Supreme Court of Argentina [official website, in Spanish] ruled that individuals cannot be required to submit blood samples [JURIST report] to test whether they were abducted as children during the Dirty War. Spanish police announced in July that they had arrested [JURIST report] Jorge Alberto Soza, wanted in Argentina on torture charges stemming from his service in the police force during the dictatorship.

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