No immunity for crimes against humanity

The hearings in the Santiago Court of Appeals are the result of a request by seven human rights lawyers in relation to the case of 19 victims of ' disappearance ' during the 'Caravan of Death' military operation in the North of Chile in October 1973.

'The opening of the hearings marks a positive first step to crack the impenetrable legal barrier which has sheltered Augusto Pinochet for over a quarter of a century,' Amnesty International said.

'If the court is satisfied that enough evidence is produced to justify the removal of Pinochet's immunity civilian justice will finally be allowed to take its course, and he will be placed on the same level of equality before the law as any other Chilean citizen,' the organisation added.

Augusto Pinochet's immunity as senator for life and the Amnesty Law of 1978 are but two of the many obstacles Augusto Pinochet erected against the achievement of justice in Chile.

Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Chilean authorities to remove all the obstacles which have so far hindered the struggle for truth and justice in Chile.

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