CONGRESS ALSO RESISTED IMPUNITY
Juan Pablo Csipka does an excellent job in echoing the infamous Easter 30 years ago (April 13). He correctly pinpoints the role of the National Congress in both passing the Full Stop law (No. 23,492 on December 24, 1986) and the Due Obedience law (No. 23,521 on June 4, 1987), plus their repeal on August 12, 2003. However, he leaves out concomitant action in the international field in which Congress had led the battle against impunity.
On August 8, 2003 President Néstor Kirchner (via Decree 579/2003) deposited — before the United Nations secretary-general — the instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Non-Applicability of the Statute of Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
In my letter titled “Historical Reminder” (Herald, August 23, 2003), I recalled that the bill proposing the ratification of this Convention was presented in 1994 by the chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, Claudio Ramiro Mendoza, with bipartisan support.
This is what I stated in my letter:
“As his advisor, I simply took the initiative in the midst of the media frenzy surrounding the extradition of Erich Priebke and President Carlos Menem’s promise to Ruben Beraja (then of DAIA) that this Convention would be ratified. However, with full ratification in 1995, the Executive got cold feet.
Throughout these eight years, there was never an official response to the inquiries made regarding the delay in depositing the instrument of ratification before the UN. Nevertheless, I found out that the fear of retroactivity was the main motive for not taking this last step. Since the Convention entered into force in 1970, the Argentine military dictatorship (1976-83) could presumably be included in its provisions.
This is utterly stupid.
Before presenting this bill at the time, I spoke to the late Emilio Mignone, co-founder of CELS (Centre for Legal and Social Studies) who encouraged me to present this Convention for ratification on account of legal non-retroactivity: the same point you make in your editorial (August 14, 2003). The skeleton is — finally — out of the closet. I’m glad to have helped in opening the door.”
In 2003 Congress cleared the path for justice and Argentina finally ratified this international convention.
Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen
CAN LA BLOCS BOND?
Last week’s Herald carried a piece on the two main trade groups having meetings to design mutually beneficial trade agreements.
On the one hand, it’s wonderful that the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur are discussing how to get closer together. That is how the European Union began. But on the other hand, as we see how the EU is doing with Brexit and others also thinking of leaving, shouldn’t we think twice about any multi-nation alliance in South America?
Friends in EU nations grumble that the out-of-touch EU parliament is forever passing resolutions which affect their lives. Can a small-town politician from Slovenia have any understanding of a storekeeper’s need in London? Can you imagine a Patagonian member of a PA-Mercosur committee or parliament understanding the problems of a person in the Amazon?
The well-off Northern EU members are complaining of the way the Mediterranean members of the EU like Spain, Italy and Greece have abused the union. Can you imagine what we would do down here?
One example: a few years ago businessmen from a Mediterranean country came out and offered to buy, cash down, a little company I was involved in. They explained that they had a guaranteed loan from the EU of 500 000 euros as part of an EU programme to expand its activities in South America. Whether it was a good investment or not, was not the question. They had to buy something or lose the loan. We did not get into details but I presume the idea was to have us return a good amount of the money to the buyers.
But the real problem for the PA/Mercosur alliance is that the members are best-known for their habit of changing their governments and their thinking at any moment and freely disregarding agreements. “Unifying” has a special meaning in our part of the world as the design of the one and only model of licence plate shows. They already have three variants.
But what really gets me is that the “Parlasur” parliament has not even gone into effect but Argentina and others have already elected members. Will it be anything more than a place for politicians to place their friends?
Argentina and the other countries would be much better-off if they concentrate on cleaning their own houses before trying to clean up each other’s houses.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
A football fan, Emanuel Balbo (22), died after being pushed from a stand at the Mario Kempes stadium in Córdoba by an angry crowd who thought he was a rival supporter. Apparently, he had quarrelled with a man whom he accused of being responsible for the death of Balbo’s brother in a car accident in 2012. That same man shouted that Balbo was a disguised fan of Belgrano’s rival, Talleres, with the sole purpose of enraging the crowd, who didn’t hesitate to push him to his death. The video images show that clearly. It wasn’t just an argument or a fight between two men but a whole lot of people irrationally attacking Balbo, just because he supported the other team.
What kind of sport is that? Can we call it a game? What’s the difference between this and Christians being thrown to the lions in ancient Rome, to entertain the people at the Colosseum? This sample of mass hysteria should be a warning and cannot be lightly dismissed. All those people are responsible for the young man’s death. In the video, you can even see some of them laughing and cheering while pushing and hitting him. Not only that: when Balbo was lying flat on the ground, almost dead, someone stole his trainers.
No-one helped him. No-one saved him. No-one cared. And he’ll be forgotten in a couple of weeks, like all the other victims of violence in Argentina. Soon buried and forgotten