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Sunday, 7 January, 2001, 02:02 GMT
Chile court gets files on disappeared
Hernan Alvarez receives the files from President Lagos
Lagos (right) hands over the information to the high court president
Chilean President Ricardo Lagos has handed over to the country's Supreme Court information relating to people disappeared during the military regime led by General Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990.

The president of the high court, Hernan Alvarez, said judges would be appointed to investigate the cases with the assistance of police organisations.

Protester holds banner with photos of the disappeared
Over 3,000 people were killed or disappeared during Pinochet's rule
The information was gathered by the armed forces and church groups during six months, following a military-civilian accord to try to clarify the fate of more than 1,000 people whose whereabouts remain unknown.

The agreement guaranteed anonymity for any member or former member of the military providing information, and has been criticised by some families of the missing who say it gives impunity to the armed forces.


Some of the relatives are expected to meet the Supreme Court president on Monday to determine how the courts will investigate where the remains of their loved ones are.

General Pinochet
General Pinochet: Will he turn up for medical tests?
After receiving the files from President Lagos, Mr Alvarez said: "I believe the organisations which have provided this information have made a significant contribution toward knowing the truth of what really occurred in this country."

President Lagos has said he will address the nation on Sunday night, and is expected to give more details of the information contained in the files.

Reports from Chile say that the information compiled by the armed forces and church organisations relates to between 100 and 200 cases, not to the 1,000 established in the accord.

More than 3,000 people were killed or disappeared during General Pinochet's rule.

Pinochet defiant

In a separate development, prosecution lawyers in the ongoing Pinochet case asked a judge to place the former ruler under house arrest.

They said their aim was to ensure he attended medical tests ordered by the courts to determine whether he is fit to stand trial for alleged human rights abuses.

The tests are scheduled for Sunday and Monday, but the general's lawyers said he would not go to the hospital or appear for an interrogation set for Tuesday.

General Pinochet, 85, faces kidnapping and murder charges relating to the notorious "Caravan of Death" that toured Chile shortly after the 1973 military coup in which he took power.

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See also:

05 Jan 01 | Americas
Pinochet faces questioning
26 Dec 00 | Americas
Court delays Pinochet questioning
01 Dec 00 | Americas
Pinochet charged with kidnapping
02 Nov 00 | Americas
Court orders more tests for Pinochet
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