" Dictators never have a happy ending "(Augusto PINOCHET in the New Yorker)

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The FIDH is pleased, along with the international community of human rights, of the arrest, in London, of Chile’s ex-dictator, Augusto Pinochet. In the context of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this event does not only constitute an encouragement in the pursuit of justice, but also a materialisation of victims’ claims, and above all, an invaluable symbolic precedent preventing the world’s dictatorial regimes from feeling sheltered from international justice.

The FIDH, during its International Bureau of 14 March 1998, expressed its revolt against Augusto Pinochet’s nomination as Senator for life. This nomination conferred him parliamentary immunity in Chile, allowing him to escape from all legal actions taken on by citizens of his own country.

All victims have unfortunately encountered insurmountable obstacles in their pursuit of justice. Amnesty laws have effectively cut short the search for the truth in Chile. Victims’ suffering and their need for justice have thus remained intact over the last 25 years.

The FIDH fully supports the judicial procedures instituted by the Spanish judges Baltasar Garzón and Manuel García Castellón against the Argentinean and Chilean military Juntas, not only for assassination, torture and enforced disappearance, but also, and especially, for crimes against humanity committed by these authoritarian regimes.

The recognition of crimes against humanity and the persecution of their authors by the recent ad hoc criminal tribunals of ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda, render entirely unacceptable that such crimes not be persecuted by all jurisdictions having the means to do so. All states, according to international law, have the obligation to engage in judicial pursuit against all authors of crimes against humanity. This obligation is required by all States and for all States.

In accordance with these principles, the FIDH calls upon the Spanish Government to support the request to extradite Augusto Pinochet to Spain, submitted by the judges Garzón and García Castellón. The FIDH also calls upon the British Government to accept this request and to ensure its implementation.

The Spanish and British Governments have the means and obligation to pursue Augusto Pinochet and his collaborators for their crimes, which constitute an offence against the common conscience of humanity. Impunity of the authors of such horrible crimes can no longer be tolerated.

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