The Supreme Court has decided to release offenders convicted of crimes against humanity

03/05/2017
Press release
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Buenos Aires, 3rd May 2017. The human rights organisations here present forcefully express their rejection of the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation that allows for the possibility that those convicted of crimes against humanity may be released by applying the "2x1", a regulation in force only between 1994 and 2001.

As is publicly known, the decision, supported by a majority of the judges, Elena Highton de Nolasco, Carlos Rosenkrantz and Horacio Rosatti, was that Act 24,390, repealed in 2001 and better known as 2x1, was applicable in the case of Luis Muiña. Until today, it was undisputed that this law was not applicable to the crimes of the dictatorship, considering that it was not in force at the time the crimes were committed or during the trial of these crimes. Today, the Court’s ruling opens the door to the impunity of genocides.

As judges Lorenzetti and Maqueda argued in their dissenting vote, the reduction of sentence is not applicable to the crimes of the dictatorship. These crimes do not conclude until the fate of the missing persons and of their appropriated grandchildren is known. It is therefore not possible to apply previous and non-current laws. This criterion is also required by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which the Supreme Court disregards again.

It is imperative to remember that these genocides were tried at a later stage under the validity of the laws of impunity and that in most cases the convictions are not yet firmly established due to the delays of the Judiciary itself. This ruling would reach and benefit hundreds of offenders who were detained in preventive prison and who can now obtain drastic reductions in their sentences and even seek release for having completed two-thirds of their sentence. Likewise, the ruling opens an uncertain panorama for the conviction of appropriators of minors because it changes the criterion with respect to the applicable law that had been supporting the jurisprudence up to now, even endorsed by the Supreme Court itself.

If this new criterion of the Court is taken, the appropriators could receive sentences of three years imprisonment, which are of conditional execution, and thus a crime that has been committed for 40 years would receive a sentence that is not in accordance with the seriousness of the deed. It is highly significant that Judge Highton de Nolasco, who on other occasions imparted justice in favour of the truth, today voted against this and in line with the current winds of impunity. To give an example, in the Magnacco ruling of 2009, which was shockingly omitted by the majority of the Tribunal, Highton de Nolasco had stated her opposition to the resolution she took today, considering that Act 24,410, which establishes more severe sentences for crimes of appropriation, should be applied. The agencies will not give up in the fight for justice and we advise that we will exhaust all national and international judicial resources until this criterion that guarantees impunity is abandoned. Likewise, we call on all the people to defend the rights conquered, which are the key to guarantee the ‘Never Again’ in our society.

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  • Co-signatories

    Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo) / Madres de Plaza de Mayo Línea Fundadora (Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Founding Line) / Familiares de Desaparecidos y Detenidos por Razones Políticas (Relatives of Missing Persons and Political Prisoners) / H.I.J.O.S. Capital, Hijos por la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido y el Silencio (Sons for Identity and Justice against Forgetting and Silence, Capital) / Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) (Center for Legal and Social Studies) / Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos (APDH) Permanent Assembly for Human Rights) / Asociación Buena Memoria (GoodMemory Association) / Comisión Memoria, Verdad y Justicia Zona Norte (Northern Zone Memory, Truth and Justice Commission) / Familiares y Compañeros de los 12 de la Santa Cruz (Family and Friends of the Santa Cruz 12) / Fundación Memoria Histórica y Social Argentina (Argentine Social and Historical Memory Foundation / Liga Argentina por los Derechos del Hombre (Argentine League for the Rights of Man) / FIDH

  • Member organisations - Argentina
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