Miguel Angel Cavallo must be judged as soon as possible

29/12/2006
Press release

Judge Torres of Argentina must ask for Miguel Angel Cavallo’s extradition

FIDH asks that the appeal of the Spanish Audiencia Nacional’s decisión be heard

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) expresses its deep concern regarding the decision of the Spanish Audiencia Nacional, which refuses to judge the ESMA (High School for the Mechanics in the Argentinean Army) repressor Ricardo Miguel Cavallo, presumed responsible for 228 disappearances and 128 kidnappings during Argentina’s dictatorship (1976-1983).

Following a request for extradition on 12 September 2000 by the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, the Mexican Supreme Court authorized Ricardo Miguel Cavallo’s extradition to Spain on June 10, 2003 for acts of terrorism and genocide crimes. Cavallo was arrested in Cancún Airport in August 2000 by the Mexican authorities as he was trying to flee Mexico. He was extradited to Spain on June 28, 2003 and has been detained there since then. In 2005, the Spanish judiciary had closed the indictment and the pleadings were due to begin soon.

On December 20, 2006, the Audiencia Nacional held that it did not have the jurisdiction to hear Caballo’s case, thus reversing the Spanish Constitutional Court’s decision of September 26, 2005. The decision gives the Argentinean judge Torres only 40 days to obtain his extradition to Argentina. A year and a half ago, the judge had indeed initiated a case against Cavallo. If this request is not met, Cavallo, an ex-military who is held responsible for torture and disappearances, will be freed, although the Public Prosecutor of the Audiencia National had asked for a minimum sentence of 13.332 years in prison.

FIDH urges the Argentinean judiciary to request Cavallo’s extradition before he is freed.

FIDH strongly believes that despite the legal issues regarding the most appropriate jurisdiction to hear the case, Cavallo should be judged in Spain, since the case has already gone to trial there and the conditions of detention in Argentina of perpetrators of crimes during the dictatorship are lax. Therefore, FIDH asks that the appeal of the Audiencia Nacional’s decision be accepted. FIDH considers it peculiar that the Spanish judiciary should ask Judge Torres to take on the Cavallo Case, despite the fact that the case is nearly closed.

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