Government requests 1955 Plaza de Mayo bombing be considered a crime against humanity

The military attempt to overthrow Perón resulted in over 300 people killed

The Human Rights Secretariat requested the 1955 bombing of Plaza de Mayo, which took place 68 years ago today, be investigated as a crime against humanity and the judiciary conduct a Truth Trial to acknowledge the events and offer reparation to the victims after “so many years of impunity.” 

The request was submitted yesterday to the 6th Federal Court of Buenos Aires City, with the support of the Human Rights Permanent Assembly (APDH, its Spanish acronym) and victims’ relatives, according to a press release from the secretariat led by Horacio Pietragalla Corti.

On June 16, 1955, Navy and Air Force planes dropped bombs and machine-gunned strategic targets with the aim of overthrowing and assassinating democratically elected president Juan Domingo Perón.

The air assault was carried out in successive runs between 12:40 and 5:40 pm, targeting  key government buildings such as Casa Rosada, the Army Ministry and the presidential palace, Plaza de Mayo and Plaza Colón. Navy troops and civilian militia supported the air raid on the ground. 

“More than 300 people were killed and over 1200 were wounded. The biggest number of casualties was in the Plaza de Mayo area, where there was a rally in support of the Perón government that day,” said the press release. 

Neither the President nor his ministers were in Casa Rosada at the time. From the very beginning, the attack was meant as an assault on civilians with the aim of spreading terror among the population in order to suppress popular support for the constitutional government.

The attack laid the foundations for the overthrowing of Perón in September and the arrival of a civic-military dictatorship that labeled itself the “Liberating Revolution.”

“Despite all the time that has passed, these events have never been investigated. Although it is clear that most of the actual perpetrators and masterminds have passed away, the State has an obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish crimes against humanity and offer reparation to their victims,” said the secretariat. 

“The demand for truth and reparation in historical cases of human right violations is framed within the Secretariat of Human Rights’ decision to advocate for the recognition of such violations as crimes against humanity”. 

The most relevant precedent in terms of Truth Trial related to crimes against humanity was the “Napalpí Massacre” trial, between April and May of last year. The court recognized the State’s responsibility in the mass shooting of members of the Moqoit and Qom communities back in 1924, and ordered reparation for victims. The only remaining survivor of the massacre, Rosa Grillo, passed away earlier this year at the age of 115.

The Secretariat actively participated in the trial and is part of the committee working on the implementation of a sentence.

In December 2022, the office led by Pietragalla Corti also appeared as a plaintiff in a case at the federal court of Santa Cruz to investigate the mass executions of rural workers between 1921 and 1922, after an uprising known as the “Patagonia Rebelde” (Rebel Patagonia)

A Truth Trial over the 1956 José León Suárez executions against militants plotting to overthrow Pedro Eugenio Aramburu’s dictatorship is also currently underway. 

-with information from Télam


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