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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 July, 2003, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Argentine officers wanted in Spain
Judge Baltasar Garzon
Garzon aims to be the nemesis of former Latin American strongmen
A Spanish judge has re-issued international arrest warrants against 46 former members of the Argentine armed forces he accuses of genocide and torture.

Judge Baltasar Garzon, the investigator who has fought to bring those suspected of human rights abuses in Latin America to justice, first sent 48 arrest orders to Interpol in 2000.

He has now removed from the list two men who have since died, including former Argentine president Leopoldo Galtieri.

Judge Garzon is perhaps best known for spearheading the unsuccessful campaign to extradite former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet from London to Spain.

His decision to re-issue the warrants comes a week after he indicted a former Argentine military officer, Ricardo Miguel Cavallo, who was extradited from Mexico to Spain to face charges of genocide and terrorism.

Dirty War

No date has been set for his trial but it is expected to take place in 2004.

The 46 former military and police officials in the re-issued warrants include former General Jorge Videla, who was the first junta-backed president and former navy chief Admiral Emilio Massera, among others.

Former Argentine president, Leopoldo Galtieri.
Galtieri was on Garzon's list before he died
The charges of genocide and torture brought in Spain relate to alleged crimes committed against Spanish nationals in Argentina under the military junta between 1976 and 1983.

Manuel Olle, a lawyer representing victims of Argentina's "Dirty War", told Reuters news agency that Judge Garzon asked judicial authorities in Argentina to freeze the former officials' assets to a value of nearly $2.99bn if they did not put up a bond for that amount.

The extradition requests issued in 2000 were ignored by Argentine government.

But Mr Olle told the Argentine Clarin newspaper: "We think that now, the government of President Nestor Kirchner has a much more positive disposition towards human rights and against injustice."

The Argentine Government is considering whether to annul a law which shields former military officers from extradition for alleged human rights violations during military rule.

Up to 30,000 people were killed or disappeared in the Argentine military's campaign against what it called left-wing insurgents.




SEE ALSO:
Cavallo case sets precedent
29 Jun 03  |  Americas
Argentine faces 'dirty war' trial
11 Jun 03  |  Americas
Argentine charged with genocide
01 Sep 00  |  Americas
Timeline: Argentina
26 May 03  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Argentina
27 May 03  |  Country profiles


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