Eight former Argentine military officers were convicted on Monday of liability for the massacre of Margarita Belen [Provincial Commission for Memory materials, in Spanish] during the nation's 1976-1983 "Dirty War" [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The massacre involved the torture and execution of 22 political prisoners mostly belonging to the Montoneros, an urban guerrilla rebel group, on December 13, 1976, as they were transported between prisons. The military maintained that the prisoners were armed and attacked them. One officer was found not guilty [Clarin report, in Spanish].
Argentina continues to prosecute those accused of committing human rights abuses during the Dirty War. An Argentine federal court in April sentenced [JURIST report] former general Eduardo Cabanillas to life in prison for his involvement in the Dirty War. Former general Luciano Benjamin Menendez, already serving a life sentence, was sentenced to an additional life sentence [JURIST report] in March for the attack and murder of five urban guerrilla group members. Also in March, an Argentine court commenced the trial of former dictators Jorge Videla [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] and Reynaldo Bignone [JURIST news archive] for allegedly overseeing a systematic plan to steal babies [JURIST report] born to political prisoners. In December, Videla was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] for crimes against humanity. Videla's trial commenced in July after he was charged with an additional 49 counts [JURIST reports] of murder, kidnapping and torture last May following the identification of 40 bodies in Buenos Aires in 2009. Also last May, Argentine authorities arrested [JURIST report] former secret service agent Miguel Angel Furci on charges of human rights abuses. Furci, a former agent of the Secretariat of State Intelligence (SIDE), was charged with 70 kidnappings and the torture of detainees at Orletti.