The Supreme Court threw out a 1989 presidential pardon that absolved a former army general of alleged human rights abuses during Argentina's dictatorship.
Friday's ruling that the pardon of General Santiago Omar Riveros was unconstitutional opens the door for lower courts to reconsider dozens of other pardons granted after the end of the 1976 to 1983 military regime.
The court's seven members voted 4 to 2, with one abstention, that Riveros can be tried for illegal abductions, torture and killings of dissidents during a crackdown known as the Dirty War.
Nearly 13,000 people are officially reported as missing from the junta era, though human rights groups say the toll is closer to 30,000 victims.
President Nestor Kirchner has made settling dictatorship-era human rights cases a priority. Since 2005, when the Supreme Court struck down 1980s laws granting blanket amnesty to people involved in official repression, dozens of former military and police officers have been called before the courts.
Last year, former police investigator Miguel Etchecolatz was convicted of genocide and sentenced to life imprisonment. That trial was marred by the disappearance of the chief prosecution witness, torture survivor Jorge Julio Lopez, who remains missing.
A high-ranking commander during the junta, Riveros was known for his harsh direction of one of the army's torture centers, Campo de Mayo.
He was accused in connection with 14 killings and 20 cases of torture at army institutes under his command, before being pardoned by then-President Carlos Menem.
Riveros has been under house arrest since 2000 as part of a trial of military officials who allegedly arranged the illegal adoption of more than 200 children born in detention centers. Charges of child kidnapping never went to court and were not covered by the presidential pardon.
Menem issued a statement on Friday defending his pardons and accusing Kirchner of a "vendetta" against former members of the military while not lifting pardons granted to leftist "terrorist organizations" they sought to crush.
Menem is making a long-shot bid to regain the Argentine presidency in October's election. The race's front-runner is Kirchner's wife, Senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Argentine constitutional scholar Gregorio Badeni noted that during the 1990s, the Supreme Court -- dominated by Menem appointees -- had ruled that the Riveros pardon was valid.
"I don't really understand the court's argument for going against its earlier ruling," he said.
The Supreme Court said in a statement that the alleged crimes violated not only Argentina's constitution but also international law and treaties still in effect.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday