Latin America: Dictatorships Meet Justice

Members of Anta Women's Association heading to a meeting. Credit: Courtesy of Pierre Yves Gimet

PERU: Women Sterilised Against Their Will Seek Justice, Again

Poor, rural, Quechua-speaking women in the Peruvian province of Anta who were victims of a forced sterilisation programme between 1996 and 2000 have filed a new lawsuit in their continuing struggle for justice.

RIGHTS-LATIN AMERICA: Making Forced Disappearance “Disappear”

Agustín Cetrángolo from Argentina is tireless in his fight to bring to justice those responsible for the forced disappearance of his father, who was seized in 1978 by the dictatorship of that South American country and was held in at least two different concentration camps in Buenos Aires before he went missing forever.

Vladimiro Montesinos entering the courtroom. Credit: Courtesy of the La República newspaper.

PERU: “No Sentence Will Bring Them Back to Life”

"My son Javier received eight bullets, one for each year of his life. That pain can't be erased by a sentence," Rosa Rojas, who lost her husband and young son in the 1991 Barrios Altos massacre in Peru, told IPS.

PERU: Gov’t Backs Down on Law Letting Rights Violators Off Hook

Human rights groups welcomed the revocation by the Peruvian Congress of a law that created a statute of limitations in human rights cases, which had sparked a flurry of criticism from home and abroad.

RIGHTS-CHILE: 14 Military Members Convicted in ‘Historic’ Ruling

Eleven members of the Chilean armed forces and three Uruguayan military officers were found guilty of the kidnap-murder of Chilean biochemist Eugenio Berríos, an intelligence agent of the 1973-1990 regime of Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Argentina's "Dirty War" (1974-1983) left as many as 30,000 people "disappeared," say human rights groups. Credit:

SOUTH AMERICA: Amnesties for Dictatorship Crimes Slowly Crumble

At very different paces, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay advance down the path towards annulling or at least neutralising the laws that protected those responsible for human rights crimes committed under their dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s.

Martin Scheinin Credit: Courtesy of United Nations (Peru office)

RIGHTS-PERU: U.N. Expert Concerned by “Climate of Impunity”

Trials of members of the security forces for human rights violations in Peru, especially in cases of massacres of civilians, are moving very slowly, creating "the perception of a climate of impunity," said United Nations expert Martin Scheinin at the conclusion of a visit to the country.

Approaching the cave where the killers concealed the bodies. Credit: Ángel Páez/IPS

PERU: Unearthing Victims of the Christmas Massacre

The families of 40 villagers murdered in Peru on Christmas Day in 1984 are camping out next to the eight graves in which their loved ones were buried, to keep watch over the slow, painful process of exhuming the bodies, a task that is being carried out by the public prosecutor's office.

HUMAN RIGHTS-CHILE: Unfinished Business

The controversial proposal to pardon some convicts in Chile for humanitarian reasons, which was put forward by the Catholic Church and partially taken up by President Sebastián Piñera, has revived the debate on the country's human rights situation, both past and present.

Jacqueline Condori visits the grave of her mother Bernardina Yucra.  Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

PERU: Families of Victims of Biggest Shining Path Massacre Seek Justice

For 26 years, Gregoria Aguilar has been mourning the loss of her son, son-in-law and nephew, who were killed in the biggest massacre committed by the Maoist Shining Path guerrillas in Peru's highlands.

Angélica Mendoza and Adelina García of ANFASEP, in the Museum of Memory, Ayacucho. Credit: Elías Navarro/IPS

RIGHTS-PERU: No Reparations Yet for Families of Civil War Victims

The families of victims of the political violence in the impoverished southern highlands province of Ayacucho, the epicentre of Peru's 1980-2000 counterinsurgency war, complain that the government of Alan García has set new conditions for the start of the payment of reparations.

Peruvian attorney Ronald Gamarra to be a defence witness in Baltasar Garzón's trial. Credit: APRODEH

HUMAN RIGHTS: Peru’s Past to Serve as Evidence in Spanish Judge’s Trial

Human rights crimes committed in Peru in the 1990s -- initially amnestied but later tried in court -- will be presented in the trial of Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzón as evidence that crimes against humanity cannot be legally pardoned.

RIGHTS-PERU: Severe Setbacks for Justice in Cases Involving Military

Human rights groups in Peru are complaining about drastic setbacks in the attempt to hold members of the security forces responsible for crimes against humanity committed during the country's counterinsurgency war.

Families of the "disappeared" protest on the 24th anniversary of the tragedy in Bolívar square in Bogotá, outside the new courthouse. Credit: Constanza Vieira/IPS

RIGHTS-COLOMBIA: Uribe Lashes Out at Sentence for Senior Officer

Surrounded by a protective phalanx of stern generals and police chiefs, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe assailed a court ruling that sentenced a senior army officer for human rights crimes committed nearly 25 years ago.

Int’l Trial on Dictatorship’s Atrocities Taints Brazil’s Image

A case against Brazil in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for violations of human rights committed by the 1964-1985 military dictatorship, and the country's failure to bring those responsible to trial at home, are a smear on the image of an emerging power that has taken on an increasingly prominent role on the international stage.

RIGHTS: Mexico Ignores Inter-American Court Rulings

Six months after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights handed down two sentences against the Mexican state, one of them linked to the wave of murders of women in Ciudad Juárez, little has been done to comply with the rulings.

Jesús Tecú Credit: Danilo Valladares/IPS

Q&A: Justice in Guatemala – A Child That No One Helped Learn to Walk

In Guatemala, "justice was like a child just starting to stand up" when the 36-year armed conflict came to an end, but no one helped it "learn to begin to walk," says Jesús Tecú, who will be awarded a prestigious international human rights prize Wednesday in New York.

EL SALVADOR: Tribute to Late Poet Marred by Sons’ Accusations

As the 35th anniversary of Salvadoran poet and revolutionary Roque Dalton’s death approaches, his sons allege that two of his killers are currently working for the governments of El Salvador and Mexico, respectively, and have demanded their dismissal.

Soldiers and police who were let off the hook. Credit: Photos from the Registro Nacional de Identificación y Estado Civil. Layout design by IPS.

RIGHTS-PERU: Soldiers’ Acquittal Reflects Trend of Impunity

The acquittal by a Peruvian court of two soldiers and a police officer charged with the forced disappearance of four peasant farmers in the Andean highlands region of Ayacucho is viewed as a serious setback by the families of victims of human rights violations during the 1980-2000 civil war.

Argentine Judges Delay Justice for Dirty War Criminals

Recent convictions of those responsible for torture and disappearances during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship in Argentina have been praised by human rights organisations. But for every case that comes to trial there are many more facing long delays, and the main hurdle, they say, is the judicial branch itself.

Argentina, an Example for Prosecuting Franco-Era Crimes?

Argentina is an example for Spaniards to bear in mind as they investigate crimes committed during the 1939-1975 dictatorship of general Francisco Franco, says Emilio Silva, head of the Spanish Association for the Recovery of Historic Memory (ARMH).

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