[JURIST] An Argentine court on Tuesday sentenced former judge Victor Brusa to 21 years in prison for crimes against humanity during the country's 1976-83 "Dirty War" [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The Federal Court of Santa Fe found Brusa guilty [Pagina 12 report, in Spanish] of eight counts of crimes against humanity in his capacity as a judicial officer during the dictatorship. The court also sentenced five former police officers to between 19 and 23 years in prison for their roles kidnapping and torture. Brusa was arrested in 2005 after Argentina's Supreme Court struck down amnesty laws [JURIST report] adopted in the 1980s to deter military insurrection against the democratic government, prompting the government to reopen hundreds of human rights cases.
Last month, former Argentine president and general Reynaldo Bignone went on trial [JURIST report] for crimes against humanity allegedly perpetrated during the "Dirty War." The trial is expected to last until March. In October, an Argentinian court sentenced [JURIST report] retired general Jorge Olivera Rovere and retired colonel Jose Menendez to life in prison for "Dirty War" crimes. Last year, a court convicted [JURIST report] former general Luciano Benjamin Mendendez and another former general and sentenced them to life terms for kidnapping, torturing, and murdering Peronist politician Guillermo Vargas Aignasse in 1976 during the coup. Also in 2008, an Argentine court sentenced [JURIST report] Luciano Benjamin Menendez and four others to life in prison for the 1977 kidnapping, torture, and killing of four political dissidents. During the "Dirty War," an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people were forcibly kidnapped or "disappeared" in a government-sponsored campaign against suspected dissidents.