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Chile Pinochet Ruling: A major step towards justice

The court’s decision shows that Augusto Pinochet can and must be brought to justice in the same way as any other citizen. This is a valuable step which restores confidence in the judiciary following two decades of delay in facing up to human rights violations committed during the years of military government.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“The human rights violations – ‘disappearances’, torture and extrajudicial executions – which were carried out during the military government of Augusto Pinochet in Chile constitute crimes against humanity and must be punished.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is the first step to achieving justice and sends a powerful message to all perpetrators of human rights violations.

“In order to fight against the impunity witnessed since the period of military government, the active and wholehearted action of Chile’s executive, legislative and judiciary is required.

“This ruling is the culmination of the tireless work of relatives, lawyers and human rights organisations who have persevered despite serious postponements and numerous drawbacks. The decision offers renewed hope that their long struggle has not been in vain.”


In a close vote – nine votes to eight – a plenary session of the Supreme Court decided yesterday to lift Augusto Pinochet Ugarte’s immunity from prosecution. Chile’s highest court ruled to lift the immunity enjoyed by Augusto Pinochet as former president, therefore opening legal means to press for his trial for human rights violations committed in the so-called “Operation Condor” during his government.

“Operation Condor” was a plan coordinated by the military governments of the ‘Southern Cone’ - Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay - to eliminate their “opponents” during the 1970s and 1980s.

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