Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Friday, April 23, 1999 Published at 21:51 GMT 22:51 UK

World: Americas

Chile seeks arbitration on Pinochet case

Chilean supporters of General Pinochet are demanding his release

The Chilean government is to call on the International Court of Justice in The Hague to rule on whether Chile or Spain is competent to try the former military ruler, General Augusto Pinochet, on torture charges.

The pinochet File
The Chilean Foreign Minister, Jose Miguel Insulza, said the International Court - a United Nations agency - was the proper forum to arbitrate in the case, as Spain, Chile and the UK had all signed the United Nations' Convention Against Torture in 1988.

"We will ask the governments of Spain and Great Britain to begin an arbitration process with respect to Spain's jurisdiction under the guidelines of the international convention on torture," Mr Insulza told reporters.

General Pinochet has been held in the UK since last October following his arrest at the request of Spanish prosecutors who allege he is responsible for more than 3,000 deaths and disappearances during his rule between 1973 and 1990.

Torture convention

The Chilean government has repeatedly insisted that only Chile has the right to General Pinochet for crimes committed in that country.

[ image: Mr Insulza says Chile wants the International Court to decide]
Mr Insulza says Chile wants the International Court to decide
Mr Insulza argues that the UN Convention on Torture states that people accused under it can only be tried in the country where the crimes were alleged to have been committed or in the country where they are detained.

On Sunday the 83-year-old former military leader told the UK's Sunday Telegraph newspaper that he would "fight against this extradition with every ounce of my strength.

The interview followed the decision by UK Home Secretary Jack Straw, allowing extradition proceedings brought by Spain against General Pinochet to go ahead for crimes allegedly committed after the UK signed the Convention Against Torture.

In March, the UK's highest court, the House of Lords ruled he could only face extradition proceedings on charges of torture carried out after 1988 when Britain incorporated the convention into law 1988.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

18 Apr 99 | UK
Defiant Pinochet vows to fight extradition

16 Apr 99 | UK
Straw clears way for Pinochet appeals

15 Apr 99 | UK
Q & A: The next step for Pinochet

15 Apr 99 | UK Politics
Eyewitness: Joy of anti-Pinochet protesters

15 Apr 99 | UK Politics
Pinochet decision to set new precedent

15 Apr 99 | World
Pinochet opponents celebrate

Internet Links

The Pinochet Page

Why Pinochet should not go free

The President of Chile

The Home Office

Telegraph newspapers

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

From Business
Microsoft trial mediator appointed

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

From Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million

Violence greets Clinton visit

Bush outlines foreign policy

Boy held after US school shooting

Memorial for bonfire dead

Senate passes US budget

New constitution for Venezuela

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Hurricane Lenny abates

UN welcomes US paying dues

Chavez praises 'advanced' constitution

In pictures: Castro strikes out Chavez

WTO: arbitration in EU-Ecuador banana dispute

Colombian army chief says rebels defeated

Colombian president lambasts rebels