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Monday, 9 July, 2001, 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK
Q&A: Pinochet charges
The Chilean Supreme Court has ruled former military ruler General Augusto Pinochet is too unwell to stand trial, suspending all proceedings against him for good.

What does the Supreme Court ruling mean?

The decision by the Supreme Court means that prosecuting lawyers have exhausted all their options for bringing General Pinochet to trial.

In their final attempt, they tried to argue that a decision not to prosecute the former leader was based on faulty medical exams and procedural flaws.

But the court upheld the controversial ruling that found him mentally unfit to stand trial for human rights crimes during his rule.

Do Chileans care any more?

Those involved with the case still care. Those whose relatives were killed during the Pinochet years still follow the case very closely.

So do General Pinochet's closest supporters, but most of the country is tired of the long-running legal battle.

Their lives were dominated by Augusto Pinochet for 17 years during the military government - and they want to consign him to the past.

Does General Pinochet still have strong support?

General Pinochet still has vociferous support from a hard-core of supporters.

They include his family, retired members of the armed forces, and a number of opposition politicians.

Beyond this, his support has faded.

He still has public backing from the armed forces. But members of his family have complained that military commanders have not done as much as they should or could for their former commander-in-chief.

Will the lack of a trial mean wounds remain open?

For some yes. But many feel that the point has already been proven - that General Pinochet was arrested and indicted in his own country.

Who else is on trial?

A number of his associates - mostly retired military officers - have been arrested over the past two years. More arrests may be expected over the next few years.

See also:

03 Jul 01 | Americas
Opponents attack Pinochet 'ploy'
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