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Tuesday, 10 July, 2001, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Viewpoints: The Pinochet verdict
Pinochet supporters
The former military ruler still has supporters in Chile
Augusto Pinochet was found mentally unfit to stand trial for alleged human rights abuses by the Santiago Court of Appeal on Monday.

The decision means that the case against the former leader is now unlikely to ever go to court.

BBC News Online rounds up the reaction on both sides.

Marco Antonio Pinochet
The ex-President's son

I hope with this ruling that our father can have a little more peace during what is left of his life.

Luis Sornazzi
Neurologist and psychiatrist who assessed Pinochet

I was the only external expert in the panel that examined the general. At the time of our assessment, we found, in common agreement with all the examiners, that the ex-general has mild to moderate dementia.

We were quite clear that based on international standards, the ex-general was able to stand trial in any part of the world.

Clearly there was a bias here, because most of the reports the judges got were from the personal neurologist of Pinochet and the personal physician of Pinochet - even the psychiatrist that examined Pinochet in April was nominated by him.

So the evidence the judges had was extremely biased by people who are close to Pinochet.

Martin Schweitzer
Pinochet's defence lawyer

Senator Pinochet was ill, and because of that we argued his illness - not because we wanted to argue his innocence.

Of course we would have wanted that, but unfortunately he became ill, and he couldn't organise a defence.

That is why he is not accountable in the sense of the due process of law.

Carmen Hertz
Prosecution lawyer

It is a defeat for justice in Chile, for an end to impunity and for the deepening of democracy in this country.

Virginia Shoppee
Amnesty international

For the relatives, this is obviously a let-down. They were expecting to find some important answers, in terms of the truth - what happened, when it happened and why - and also in terms of justice.

The decision of the court is going to curtail in a big way the answers these relatives are hoping to get.

Whatever the decision of the judiciary, it should not put in jeopardy the possibility of bringing other people to the courts to administer some justice, which is something the relatives have been trying to get for 25 years.

Hernan Monteleagre
Chilean Human Rights Lawyer

There was no line in the whole ruling that states the innocence of General Pinochet.

On the contrary, that was not a matter for the court to decide. The only thing the court was deciding was whether his health enabled him to continue a trial.

But one has to remember that he will now pass to history, although not tried up to the end, with the indictment of a person who covered up the crimes of which he is accused.

Viviana Diaz
Head of the relatives' campaign

We hope Pinochet lives for many long years so we cannot stop reproaching him and telling the world what he did.

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See also:

10 Jul 01 | Americas
Chileans seek life after Pinochet
03 Jul 01 | Americas
Opponents attack Pinochet 'ploy'
10 Jul 01 | Americas
'Unfit' Pinochet escapes trial
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