Latin America: Dictatorships Meet Justice

Catholics in Argentina Protest Church’s Complicity in Dictatorship

Argentine archbishop Jorge Bergoglio was selected as pope at a time when the Roman Catholic Church in this South American country is facing a rebellion by priests and laypersons who reject the role of the church leadership during the 1976-1983 dictatorship and the lack of reparations for past omissions and complicities.

Operation Condor on Trial in Argentina

The trial over a campaign of terror coordinated among the dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America in the 1970s and 1980s began Tuesday in Buenos Aires with former dictator Jorge Rafael Videla as one of the main defendants, along with another 24 former military officers.

Argentine Rights Violators under “House Arrest” Stroll the Streets

In spite of repeated violations of house arrest by people convicted of crimes against humanity during Argentina's dictatorship, some activists remain in favour of this lenient alternative to prison, but they want better oversight by the courts.

Exorcising the Ghosts of Brazil’s Dictatorship

At 8 a.m. on Oct. 25, 1975, Brazilian journalist Vladimir Herzog voluntarily reported to the São Paulo headquarters of the government's intelligence agency and was never seen alive again.

Spain Accused of Denying Justice to Victims of Franco-Era Abuses

Global rights watchdog Amnesty International presented an Argentine court Wednesday with documents which show that Spanish courts are blocking lawsuits brought by the families of victims of human rights crimes committed during the 1936-1939 civil war and the 1939-1975 dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

Villa Grimaldi, a former detention and torture centre, now a "peace park". Credit: Marysol*/CC BY-SA 2.0

Families of the ‘Disappeared’ Go after DINA Secret Police in Chile

A criminal lawsuit against 1,500 former members of DINA, the secret police of Chile’s 1973-1990 dictatorship, is seeking to shed light on the most active player in the repression, which stretched outside the country’s borders.

Argentine Court Forges Ahead in Franco-Era Human Rights Crimes Case

Based on the principle of universal justice, human rights crimes committed during Spain's 1936-1939 civil war and the 1939-1975 dictatorship of General Francisco Franco are being tried in Argentina, and more and more plaintiffs are joining the lawsuit.

Sheep in the Malvinas/Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. Credit: Strange Ones/CC BY 2.0

Argentine Dictatorship’s Torture Continued in Malvinas/Falklands

Former combatants in Argentina who took part in the 1982 Malvinas/Falkland Islands war are waging their final battle: they are trying to get the Supreme Court to classify the brutal mistreatment to which they were subjected by their officers as crimes against humanity.

FGM is a taboo and complicated topic in Liberia and it is dangerous for women to speak out about it.  Credit: Travis Lupick/IPS

Liberia’s Government Finding a Way to End FGM

"There were three people. One person was holding me down; one person was holding my hand; and the other person was doing the job. They lay me down, and…" Fatu said of the female genital mutilation she underwent as an eight- year-old in Liberia.

Maria de Aquino Silveira, 19, covered herself with the names of her dead or disappeared relatives.  Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

New Generation Protests Crimes of Brazil’s Dictatorship

Outside the Military Club in Rio de Janeiro, where a commemoration of the anniversary of the 1964 coup d'état was being held, hundreds of demonstrators, many of them teenagers, shouted slogans and threw eggs at arriving members in protest.

In some of the thousands of cases of forced disappearance in Argentina, babies were stolen and raised by military couples. Credit: ha+/CC BY 2.0

Argentine Baby Theft Trial Nears End

The trial for the theft of babies of political prisoners during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship is nearing its end after more than three decades of work by the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who have so far tracked down 105 of an estimated 500 missing children.

Salvadoran Civil War Survivors Demand Restorative Justice

A choked-up Mercedes Alfaro told the fourth session of the International Restorative Justice Tribunal in El Salvador how she lost seven members of her family in a 1982 massacre.

Guatemalan indigenous leader Rosalina Tuyuc.  Credit: Danilo Valladares/IPS

Q&A: “We Are on the Road to Overcoming Impunity” in Guatemala

"To achieve peace, it is necessary for the truth to come out, and for the victims to receive reparations. And part of this is that cases of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Maya people must come to trial," says Guatemalan indigenous leader Rosalina Tuyuc.

Bodies of guerrillas wrapped in canvas by soldiers in 1972 along the Araguaia River in the state of Pará, Brazil.  Credit: Image obtained from the digitisation of negatives held by retired sergeant José Antônio de Souza Perez

Brazilian Prosecutors Try to Bypass Amnesty to Try Human Rights Crimes

A group of young lawyers in Brazil’s public prosecutor’s office are seeking to break through the wall created by the amnesty law that blocks the investigation and prosecution of serious human rights violations committed during the country’s 21-year military dictatorship.

Most of the victims of Guatemala's civil war were indigenous people.  Credit: Danilo Valladares/IPS

Victims of War, Victims of Oblivion

"In 1982 they killed my mama and 15 other people, and they burned down our house. Now we are trying to get support, because we have not received any aid," says Jacinto Escobar, an Ixil Indian who is seeking reparations for the damages sustained during Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war.

Argentine Dictatorship’s Economic Crimes Coming to Light

While the trials against members of the military and police for human rights abuses committed during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship move ahead, the regime’s economic crimes have also begun to come to light.

ARGENTINA: Victims of State Terrorism No Longer on Their Own

Mental health professionals in Argentina have accumulated such a wealth of experience in treating victims of state terrorism that they are now sharing it with colleagues across the country’s borders.

GUATEMALA: Rios Montt to Stand Trial for Genocide

After a hearing that lasted more than 11 hours, a Guatemalan court ordered the trial of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-1983), who could face up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity.

SPAIN: Trials of Judge Garzon Called Scandalous by Rights Groups

Another trial opened Tuesday with Spain's best-known judge, Baltasar Garzón, in the dock for attempting to investigate crimes against humanity committed during the 36-year dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

EL SALVADOR: Twenty Years of Peace Fail to Bring Prosperity

Two decades after the signing of the Peace Accords, together with the social commitments they contained, El Salvador's levels of poverty and violence are so high that academic and social leaders are proposing new accords to overcome the crisis.

Salvadoran Poet Roque Dalton’s Murder – Case Closed

It was the first time that a Salvadoran judge was holding a hearing to decide whether the case of Roque Dalton, a poet murdered 36 years ago, should go to trial. But the hopes of his family were dashed.

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