No business leaders in the dockWednesday, July 9, 2014
Human rights trials with corporate angle begin in BA province
Two new trials for crimes committed during the last dictatorship between 1976 and 1983 began yesterday in Buenos Aires province, with the particularility that both focus on the role of the business sector in the repression — although neither have businessmen sitting in the dock.
San Martín Federal Oral Court No. 1 yesterday began to try former dictator Reynaldo Benito Bignone and 10 other defendants accused of having abducted 60 workers in northern Greater Buenos Aires. Some of them worked for the Astarsa and Mestrina shipyards, as well as pottery makers Cattáneo and Lozadur and steel company Bovapi.
The repression at Ford’s plant in General Pacheco was initially included as part of the investigation, but as the Herald reported last month, a request filed by one of the defendants means the company will avoid trial, at least until a decision is made by the Criminal Cassation Court. Last year, three former Ford Motor executives were indicted by Judge Alicia Vence for crimes against humanity in 1976.
This trial could last until November, and will be the eleventh judicial proceeding on crimes committed in the area, which was under the supervision of the Campo de Mayo garrison.
“This verdict could have an impact on other cases involving business leaders,” plaintiff lawyer Pablo Llonto told state-run news agency Télam. Ledesma sugar mill owner Carlos Blaquier was indicted last year, and could also be sent to trial soon.
The third trial for crimes committed in the southern city of Bahía Blanca started yesterday as well. During proceedings, the federal oral court will have to determine who was responsible for the murders of Enrique Heinrich and Miguel Ángel Loyola.
The two men were printshop workers at the conservative daily La Nueva Provincia, whose editor-in-chief, Vicente Massot, is the main suspect of the homicides, although he is not a defendant in this particular trial.
There are 24 men accused of human rights crimes in Bahía Blanca under the Navy’s supervision. They are accused of 66 abductions and torture, including 13 cases of forced disappearances.
Herald staff with Télam