Ex-Argentine officer faces genocide charges

A former Argentine Naval officer arrived in Spain on Sunday from Mexico to face charges of genocide and “terrorism” allegedly committed under Argentina’s 1970s and 1980s “dirty war”.

    Cavallo (L) faced public wrath 
    in Mexico
     

    Ricardo Cavallo, who denies the charges, was extradited from Mexico on Saturday in what activists hailed as a landmark for human rights.

    High profile Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon, known for his attempt to bring former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to trial, had requested Cavallo’s extradition from Mexico in August 2000. Garzon has charged Cavallo with crimes during Argentina’s 1976-83 military rule.

    Up to 30,000 people were killed or “disappeared” in the Argentine military’s war against leftist guerrillas and their supporters. Many were tortured, drugged and thrown from aircraft into the Atlantic Ocean.

    Cavallo allegedly worked in the notorious School of Naval Mechanics in Buenos Aires, which served as a secret torture centre under military rule.

    At least 5,000 people were detained or disappeared there. 

    As he boarded the plane in Mexico, Cavallo was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Victims of Argentina’s junta screamed ‘killer’ and ‘criminal’ as he passed by in a bullet-proof vehicle. 

    Cavallo (L) denies the charges

    HRW Praise

    “This is the first time ever that one country has extradited a person to another country to stand trial for human rights crimes that happened in a third,” said Reed Brody, a lawyer with Human Rights Watch (HRW) in New York late on Saturday.

    Earlier this month, Mexico’s highest court ordered Cavallo’s extradition on charges of “terrorism” and genocide although it dismissed the charge of torture.

    Cavallo ran a government concession for a national car registry programme in Mexico until a Mexican newspaper accused him of being a former “dirty war” intelligence agent.

    He was arrested in the Caribbean resort of Cancun in August 2000 bound for Argentina, where he would probably not face trial because of an amnesty for “dirty war” participants.


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.