Latin America: Dictatorships Meet Justice

Peru Clashes with Inter-American Commission Over Human Rights Case

The Peruvian government will propose that the Organisation of American States review the powers of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and is seeking the support of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. The move is a reaction against a lawsuit brought against it by the IACHR.

Argentina Investigates Human Rights Crimes of Spain’s Franco Era

A judge in Argentina has begun to investigate human rights crimes committed during Spain's civil war and the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco (1936-1975).

GUATEMALA: Military Allies Take Ex-Guerrillas, Journalists to Court

Relatives of former military personnel and businessmen are bringing lawsuits against ex guerrillas and journalists in Guatemala in connection with the 1960-1996 civil war – a legal offensive that human rights defenders say is politically motivated.

The archives are being painstakingly restored and organised.  Credit: Danilo Valladares/IPS

GUATEMALA: Archives on Decades of Police Terror Accessible Online

Millions of documents from the Guatemalan national police archive, shedding light on torture, forced disappearances and murders committed during the1960-1996 counterinsurgency war in this country, are now available on-line thanks to a collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin.

RIGHTS: Brazilians Get Ready to Dig Up the Truth

The bill to establish a National Truth Commission in Brazil, which has made it through the lower house of Congress and is now in the Senate, is considered at least a start in clarifying, and preventing a repetition of, the abuses committed during the country's 21-year dictatorship.

OP-ED-RIGHTS: “We Just Want to Know Where They Are”

The last time Supaya Serrano saw her sisters Erlinda and Ernestina, they were just three and seven years old, respectively.

ARGENTINA: Purging the Legal System of Dictatorship Accomplices

As human rights cases from Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship move ahead in the courts, cases of judges and prosecutors who were accomplices in the crimes are coming to light.

Women from Sicuani at exhumation of the remains of their loved ones.  Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

RIGHTS-PERU: Following the Clues in Exhumation of Massacre Victims

The daylight is fading, but Francisca Huanca's hopes are growing brighter. "Yes, they're his sneakers, he liked to play football," she says with tears in her eyes. She has just caught a glimpse of the remains of her husband, nearly three decades after he was murdered in the biggest massacre committed by the Maoist Shining Path guerrillas in Peru's highlands.

RIGHTS-EL SALVADOR: Rumours of Amnesty Repeal Cause Panic

The mere rumour that El Salvador's Supreme Court (CSJ) might be thinking of repealing the amnesty law was enough to trigger an institutional crisis in this country, showing how fragile its recovery is from the wounds left by the 1980-1992 civil war.

ESMA, from torture centre to human rights museum. Credit: UNESCO

ARGENTINA: Shedding Light on Dictatorship’s Sex Crimes

It's been nearly three decades since Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship came to an end, but the sex crimes committed against political prisoners are just now starting to draw more attention, after being pushed into the background in human rights trials.

Estela Barnes de Carlotto Credit: Public domain

Q&A: Re-Electing Fernandez ‘Would Consolidate the Country Our Children Wanted’

A second term for Argentine President Cristina Fernández would make it possible to continue ushering in the changes "we want and that our children wanted" when they were forcibly disappeared or murdered during the 1976-1983 dictatorship, said longtime human rights champion Estela de Carlotto.

An image from "La Toma". Subtitle reads: "Are they coming out now? What's the situation right now, Col. Plazas?" Credit: Courtesy of HRW Film Festival

FILM-LATIN AMERICA: A Long, Tortuous Road to Justice

Fredy Peccerelli and his team of forensic anthropologists sort through human bones and other remains - shoes, clothes, ID cards. A stack of long, thick bones dark with dirt accumulates as they painstakingly reconstruct what they can from Guatemala's La Verbana Cemetery, where for decades anonymous corpses have been dumped.

ARGENTINA: Trial over Baby Theft Opens at Last

After 35 years of campaigning and legal action by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, the first trial over the systematic theft of babies of political prisoners during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship began Monday.

PERU: Army’s Version of Civil War Events Questioned

A decade after the end of Peru's 20-year counterinsurgency war was officially declared, the army broke its silence, to give its own version of events.

PERU: Decades On, Women Remain Last in Line for Justice

Investigations of the raping of women in the 1980s during Peru's counterinsurgency war have ground to a halt, even though the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission filed the respective complaints in 2004. Not one sentence has been handed down for the soldiers alleged to have committed the rapes, while more victims come forward.

RIGHTS-ARGENTINA: Life Sentence for Videla Culminates “Year of Trials”

The life sentence handed down to former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla Wednesday was the culmination of a year marked by faster progress in trials of members of the armed forces accused of human rights violations committed during the country's 1976-1983 military regime.

Relatives of the victims after the ruling was handed down.  Credit: Milagros Salazar /IPS

RIGHTS-PERU: Another Controversial Acquittal of Members of Military

Sufficient evidence was presented to sentence the members of the Peruvian army responsible for the killings of 12 men, women, children and elderly persons from two highlands villages in Peru. But after a 24-year wait for justice, a court acquitted the defendants this week.

HUMAN RIGHTS: Amnesty Law Still Blocking Justice in Uruguay

"It is essential for the amnesty law to be repealed" in Uruguay, Argentine poet Juan Gelman told IPS after hearings at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ended in Quito, in the cases of the murder of his daughter-in-law and the kidnapping of his granddaughter.

Alvaro Colom wearing the presidential sash. Credit: Courtesy of Guatemalan president's office

GUATEMALA: Controversial Early Start to Election Campaign

Guatemala's election campaign got off to a controversial and premature start, with an evangelical pastor, a military officer, a former president, the president's wife and the daughter of a general who led a coup emerging as presidential hopefuls, although three of them face legal barriers to their candidacy, according to experts.

HUMAN RIGHTS: Reading the Bones

Created with the aim of recovering the remains of the victims of forced disappearance from Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team has already worked in 40 countries and is expanding the scope of cases that it investigates.

Telmo Hurtado as a young man, and in a current snapshot. Credit: Courtesy of La República newspaper

RIGHTS-PERU: US Court OKs Extradition of ‘Butcher of the Andes’

A U.S. appeals court has given the green light to the extradition to Peru of retired Peruvian army officer Telmo Hurtado, who fled to Miami in 2002 to escape trial for the Aug. 14, 1985 massacre of 69 people in the southern Andean village of Accomarca.

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