Perfil (Sabado)

Larrabure case: Rosario court to rule on whether guerillas committed crimes against humanity

- – TIMES

Acour t in Rosar io thhis heard arguments on both sides regarding Argentino del Valle Larrabure, the colonel who was kidnapped by the Marxist guerrilla group Ejército Revolucion­ario del Pueblo (ERP) in 1974 and was found dead more than year later in disputed circumstan­ces.

With the presence of Nora Cortiñas of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo on Thursday at the hearing, the court’s decision centres on whether the alleged crimes of armed guerrilla groups during the tumultuous 1970s can be considered “crimes against humanity,” an issue that was shut down in 2007 by then- general prosecutor Esteban Righi. It’s expected the court will take approximat­ely one month to deliberate before coming to a decision.

Larrabure, who was twice promoted after his death to reach the rank of Colonel, was kidnapped by an ERP commando group in 1974 and held in a “People’s Prison” for 372 days, dying in captivity with wounds to the neck. It was one of the most high-profile cases of kidnapping­s by leftist armed groups, particular­ly after Gente magazine bought and published Larrabure’s diary in 1977.

At the time of his kidnapping — during the presidency of María Estela Martínez de Perón — Larrabure was a subdirecto­r at a military factory producing explosives in Villa María, in the Cordoba Province. After his death, the kidnappers dumped his body on the side of the road, after which conflictin­g autopsies led to the subsequent military government to announce Larrabure had been tortured and killed, while an ERP communique claimed he had committed suicide.

Starting in 2007, Larrabure’s son Arturo has been campaignin­g to get the courts to revisit the case in order to consider it a “crime against humanity,” which would render it imprescrip­tible and open the doors to many more cases of alleged “war crimes” committed by leftist guerrilla groups in the 1970s. Javier Vigo Leguizamón, attorney representi­ng Larrabu- re, cited the Geneva Convention while noting that ERP had received training and support from the Cuban and Chilean government­s, according to Rosario daily La Capital. Vigo Leguizamón asked the court to call on Juan Arnold Kremer, ERP’s second in command, to testify, claiming he was responsibl­e for Larrabure’s murder.

Representi­ng Kremer, today 76-years-old, was Gabriel Ganón. Speaking before all six magistrate­s who make up Rosario Federal Chamber (an appellate court), Ganón pointed to the establishe­d jurisprude­nce, citing the Internatio­nal Criminal Court and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, indicating a “generalise­d attack against the civilian population,” was a pre-requisite for crimes against humanity, Pagina/12 reported.

Walking out from the hearing, Nora Cortiñas gave her view: “There were no ‘two demons’ here, this is politics, not justice.”

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