[JURIST] A Buenos Aires court on Tuesday handed down a 23-year prison sentence to Reynaldo Bignone [JURIST news archive], the last Argentinian military president of the country’s 1976-1983 dictatorship, for the kidnapping and torture of 32 factory workers. The court held Bignone responsible for the forced disappearance of workers by the military during the “Dirty War” [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The 86-year-old is currently serving combined life sentences for numerous prior convictions of crimes against humanity.
The “Dirty War” was a seven-year military dictatorship, during which an estimated 30,000 people, many government opponents as well as ordinary citizens, were “disappeared” and taken to government facilities to be tortured and eventually killed. A court in Buenos Aires sentenced [JURIST report] Bignone in March 2013 to life in prison for crimes against humanity. In February 2013 seven retired military officers were sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] for various human rights abuses committed during the war. In December 2012 an Argentinian court sentenced former interior minister Jaime Smart to life in prison [JURIST report] for murder and detention of citizens. Smart was the first civilian minister to be convicted of crimes during the “Dirty War,” but other civilians and police officers had been previously convicted. Two of Argentina’s former dictators were also convicted in 2012 of kidnapping children [JURIST report] during the war and sentenced to a total of 65 years in prison. One of the dictators, Jorge Rafeal Videla, had already been sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] in 2010 for crimes against humanity during the war.