Thursday, October 11, 2007


A month or so ago, I wrote about the trial of Christian von Wernich, an Argentinian priest on trial for complicity in murder, torture and illegal imprisonment. Von Wernich was only the third person to have been tried for crimes against humanity during the military junta in the late 70s and early 80s. In that post, I wrote :

The process of bringing murderers and torturers to justice will be slow and cumbersome, but without it Argentina might never account for that dark period in its history, a period which it is so loath to discuss.

Well, yesterday justice was done. Von Wernich was sentenced for life imprisonment for involvement in seven murders, 42 abductions and 31 cases of torture between 1976 and 1983. One of the prosecution lawyers, Myriam Bregman, said :

The importance of this case is fundamental because it's judging the participation of civilians in the military dictatorship. And not just any civilian, but a member of the Catholic Church - an institution with a lot of weight in Argentina. Out of the Von Wernich case we've learnt not only about the collaboration of this police chaplain, but also of other eminent members of the Church during the military dictatorship.


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