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ARGENTINA

A military junta seizes under General Jorge Videla seizes power in March.

1976

Its leaders proclaim the start of a “National Reorganization Process”. Parliament is dissolved. Opponents of the regime are rounded up in the 'Dirty War', which is to see thousands of people 'disappear'. Hundreds of people are held in detention centers across the country, while thousands flee into exile.

Massacre of Margarita" 22 prisoners tortured and killed

1976

Videla Dictatorship

1976 - 1983

A military junta under General Jorge Videla seizes power. Parliament is dissolved. Opponents of the regime are rounded up in the 'Dirty War', which is to see thousands of people 'disappear'.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visit to Argentina.

1979

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visit to Argentina. Credited for helping to stop the massive disappearances and isolating the regime internationally.

Argentine forces occupy the British-held Falkland Islands.

April 1982

Argentine forces occupy the British-held Falkland Islands, which Argentina calls Islas Malvinas and over which it had long claimed sovereignty. The United Kingdom dispatches a force to re-take the islands, which it does in June. More than 700 Argentines are killed in the fighting. Galtieri is replaced by General Reynaldo Bignone.

Argentina ratifies American Convention on Human Rights

1984

The Argentinean Truth Commission

1984

The Argentinean Truth Commission issues its report on the human rights violations during the dictatorship, recording approximately 9,000 cases of forced disappearance. The report, headed by Ernesto Sabato, called "Nunca Mas" (Never again), becomes the best-selling book of the decade in Argentina.

Trial of the Juntas (Spanish, Juicio a las Juntas) begin

April 22, 1985

During the presidential administration of Raúl Alfonsín, several top military commanders are convicted to life imprisonment.

Punto Final and Due Obedience

1986 - 1987

"Backpedaling" from his previous junta trials, President Raul Alfonsin’s government signs two controversial laws, the "punto final" law and the "due obedience" law, setting a deadline for human rights violations trials to begin and allowing officers to claim that they were merely following orders. The laws effectively prevent the majority of officers from being prosecuted.

Argentina reverted to civilian rule

1986

President Carlos Menem elected

1989

Nazi Joseph Mengele extradited for trial

1990

President Carlos Menem pardons junta leaders

1990

President Carlos Menem pardons junta leaders

New DNA databank allows for matching of DNA across 3 generations.

1990

Incredibly helpful for finding missing and kidnapped children.

Argentine Government creates National Commission for the Right to Identity

1992

charged with finding missing children.charged with finding missing children.

Constitutional reform.

1994

Presidents Alfonsin and Menem wanted it primarily to allow for presidential reelections. Progressive group of diplomats used it to push International human rights obligations aver contrary domestic law. Article 75 gives constitutional rank to basic human rights treaties and instruments ratified by Argentina (UDHR, ACHR, treaties on genocide and torture, etc)

Scilingo's testimony interest in the dictatorship's crimes.

1995

"Adolfo Scilingo's revelations about the death flights, public admission by officers that the military had used torture and the public apology and admission by General Balza... that the security forces used unacceptable tactics during the 1970s."

Menem is re-elected.

1995

Nazi Erich Preebke extradited for trial

1995

Spain issues orders for the arrest of former Argentine military officers

1997

on charges of participating in the kidnapping and killing of Spanish citizens during the 'Dirty War'. Argentine amnesty laws protect the accused.

Arrests

1998

Argentine judges order arrests in connection with the abduction of hundreds of babies from women detained during the 'Dirty War'.

Carmen Lapaco

1998

Carmen Lapaco and others take their complaints of not receiving deserved habeas data as to their loved ones disappearances, to the Inter-American Commission on human rights.

End of Lapaco Case

1999

Argentine government settles Lapaco family case by asking them to drop charges if government "accepts and guarantees the right to truth".

End of Amnesty Laws

2001

IACHR formally agrees that the blanket amnesty laws protecting junta and others responsible in Argentina violate the American Convention on Human Rights

La Plata "truth trials"

June 2002

Congress annuls the punto final and due obedience laws.

August 2002

President Nestor Kirchner elected

2003

Mid-2003 President Kirchner announcement that he would no longer oppose extraditions.

Miguel Etchecolatz convicted

2006

Former police commissioner Miguel Etchecolatz is the first officer convicted since the repeal of amnesty laws. The verdict describes the junta’s state terrorism as a form of genocide.

SPAIN

Garcés and Murillo bring a criminal complaint to Judge García-Castellón

1996

Spanish lawyers Joan Garcés and Manuel Murillo bring a criminal complaint alleging genocide, terrorism, torture, and more in Chile to Judge García-Castellón

Carlso Castrsana

March 24, 1996

Carlos Castresana presents a criminal complaint before the Audiencia Nacional, accusing Argentinian Generals Jorge Videla and Antonio Bussi, Admiral Emilio Massera, and a number of others with charges of genocide, torture, and more against 38 Spanish victims
• Judges Balthazar Garzón and Manuel García-Castellón send the complaint to the Public Prosecutor’s office for comment; chief prosecutor Carlos Granados agrees to allow the investigation to continue and deal with jurisdictional issues later after hearing first-hand testimony on baby-snatching in Argentina

first international detention order against Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri

March 1997

After nearly a year of gathering evidence and receiving testimony, Judge Garzón issues the Argentine case’s first international detention order against Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri, an Argentinian military commander responsible for commanding operations against suspected subversives (including ‘disappearing’ certain suspects)

Scilingo testifies

October 1997

Adolfo Scilingo, an Argentinian military officer responsible for participation in the ‘death flights’, arrives in Spain, testifies in front of Judge Garzón, and is arrested on the spot
• Garzón issues international detention orders for Scilingo and nine other Argentinian naval officers, charging them with genocide, terrorism, and disappearance of individuals; over the next few months Garzón goes on to indict 150 officers and issue 66 arrest warrants

Garces and Murrillo ask for Arrest Warrant

March 13,1998

Garcés and Murillo ask Judge García-Castellón to issue arrest warrants for 39 officials of the Chilean ex-dictatorship regime, including Pinochet, Contreras, and the DINA leadershipGarcés and Murillo ask Judge García-Castellón to issue arrest warrants for 39 officials of the Chilean ex-dictatorship regime, including Pinochet, Contreras, and the DINA leadership

Garces learns that Pinochet is in London

October 3 1998

Garcés receives a call from Amnesty International informing him that Augusto Pinochet is in London

Spain Asks Britain to Detain Pinochet

October 13, 1998

Garzon proceeds with Extradition Request

December 1998

Judge Garzón proceeds with the Pinochet extradition request at the House of Lords in England

Garzón adds 34 new cases to the Pinochet extradition request

September 1999

Argentine Extradition Requests

December 1999

Garzón issues extradition requests for 48 of the Argentinian military and police officers he had previously indicted; more extradition requests pertaining to the Argentine case are issued in September 2001 and mid-2003; these requests are first denied by Argentina and then by the Spanish Foreign Ministry (on the grounds that the Argentinian judicial system is preparing to try the men at home)

Rigoberta Menchú Files a complaint

December 1999

Rigoberta Menchú, a Guatemalan Qu’iche Indian woman and advocate of indigenous peoples’ rights, files a complaint before the Audiencia Nacional charging eight Guatemalan political and military notables (including General Efraín Ríos Montt) with genocide, terrorism, and torture

Judge Ruíz Polanco accepts Roberto's complaint

March 27, 2000

udge Ruíz Polanco accepts the Guatemalan complaint and agrees to open an investigation, after finding that: a) the case presented many connections with Spain, b) the events reported clearly demonstrated a case of genocide, and c) Spain had jurisdiction because local Guatemalan courts had not taken action to deal with these charges

Garzon begins to gather evidence against Cavallo

August 2000

Argentinian navy officer Ricardo Miguel Cavallo (former head of the ‘Fish Tank’ prisoner camp) is arrested in Mexico; news of his arrest is sent to Spanish judge Guillermo Ruíz Polanco, who issues a Spanish arrest warrant for Cavallo by 10pm that night
• Judge Garzón and his team of lawyers get to work gathering evidence and testimony in order to justify the extradition request for Cavallo

The Audiencia Nacional hears the Guatemalan case

November 30, 2000

• 13 days later, the court rules that ‘for the moment’ Spain has no jurisdiction in the
Guatemalan case due to a lack of evidence that Guatemalan courts are unable or unwilling
to pursue the case
• in response, an appeal is filed to the Spanish Supreme Court

Argentine Extradition Requests

2001

See December 1999

Supreme Court hears the appeal regarding the Audiencia Nacional decision

June 2002

Argentine Extradition Requests

2003

Se December 1999

The Supreme Court partially overturns the Audiencia Nacional decision

February 25, 2003

The Supreme Court partially overturns the Audiencia Nacional decision, declaring that only cases with a clear tie to Spain can proceed, thus unravelling Spain’s universal jurisdiction law

Supreme Court dismisses Peruvian case

May 20, 2003

A 3-judge panel of the Spanish Supreme Court dismisses a case alleging genocide, terrorism, torture, and arbitrary detention against high-ranking Peruvian government officials; the panel affirms Spain’s universal jurisdiction laws (previously dismissed in the Guatemala case) but declares Spanish prosecution inappropriate due to ongoing legal action against several of the defendants in local Peruvian courts

The Supreme Court of Mexico approves Cavallo’s extradition to Spain

june 10, 2003

Cavallo is then transferred to a Spanish prison for a waiting period of undetermined length before trialCavallo is then transferred to a Spanish prison for a waiting period of undetermined length before trial

The Supreme Court of Mexico approves Cavallo’s extradition to Spain

June 10, 2003

Cavallo is then transferred to a Spanish prison for a waiting period of undetermined length before trialCavallo is then transferred to a Spanish prison for a waiting period of undetermined length before trial

Sciliingo Tried

August 2005

After a trial at the Audiencia Nacional, Adolfo Scilingo is convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to over 200 years in jail

ENGLAND

CHILE

Coup d’etat & overthrow S. Allende

1973

Pinochet Dictatorship

1973 - 1990

Self Amnesty Law

1978

Constitution put in place by Pinochet

1980

Transfer of power to P. Aylwin democracy

1990

Changes in Supreme Court

1997 - 1998

Supreme Court sees retirement of older judges and income of new professional body. Encourages reopening of cases

Pinochet travels to London

1998

First complaint in Chile with Pinochet as defendant

1998

Judge Guzman issues arrest for General Stark

1999

Outpour of complaints against Pinochet (by 2004= 300)

1999 - 2004

Pinochet returns to Chile

2000

-President at the time (tame before the military): Frei Ruiz-Tagle
-Incoming president (more openly oppositional): Ricardo Lagos

Stark case passes to Santiago Appeals Court, which rules to strip P. immunity

2000

GUATEMALA

Counterinsurgency War: 200,000 dead or missing

1990 - 1996

Guatemala Law of National Reconciliation

1996

granted amnesty to those involved in the war, but, in response to UN urging, it excluded cases of genocide, torture, and dis- appearances (but not necessarily massacres).

Rigobertu Menchu files a complaint

1999

"Rigoberta Menchu, together with Guatemalan groups of family members of those killed, Spanish labor unions, and sol- idarity groups, filed a complaint before the Audiencia Nacional charg- ing eight people with genocide, terrorism, and torture."

BELGIUM

New law allows "pure" universal jurisdiction

1999

Vandermeersch indites Yerodia

April 2000

Judge Vandermeersch issued an arrest warrant for Yerodia as author or co-author of war crimes and crimes against human- ity. There was only one small problem: at the time he issued the warrant (although not when the acts took place) Yerodia was foreign minister of the DRC.

DRC files a complaint against Beligium in the ICJ

October 2000

Sharon Case Begins

June 2001

The Sharon case began onJune 18,2001, when 23 Lebanese-Palestin- ian complainants, only one resident in Belgium, filed a complaint against Ariel Sharon, at the time defense minister and now prime minis- ter of Israel, and Amos Yaron, then the commander of Israeli forces in Lebanon and now CEO of the Israeli Defense Forces

ICJ decision vindicates the DRC

February 2002

Pure universal jurisdiction narrowed - defendant must be present

june 2002

Brussels Court of Appeals first reaffirmed that a law establishing Belgian jurisdiction over international crimes committed outside Belgium by non-Belgians (that is, under uni- versaljurisdiction) was not per se invalid. It was, however, subject to the requirement that the defendant be present on Belgian soil

Magistrate Francen is assigned Habre case

2003

MEXICO

Cavallo Arested in Mexico

August 24, 2000

Argentinian navy officer Ricardo Miguel Cavallo (former head of the ‘Fish Tank’ prisoner camp) is arrested in Mexico; news of his arrest is sent to Spanish judge Guillermo Ruíz Polanco, who issues a Spanish arrest warrant for Cavallo by 10pm that night
• Judge Garzón and his team of lawyers get to work gathering evidence and testimony in order to justify the extradition request for Cavallo

SURINAME

Military carries out Mass Murder

1982

On the night of December 8, 1982, fifteen people, including one Dutch national, were arrested, tortured, and summarily executed by the military government,

NETHERLANDS

Amsterdam Court of Appeals accepts Suriname case

2000

Amsterdam reverses – claims they do not have jurisdiction

2001

CHAD AND SENEGAL

Dictator Habre periodically targets various ethnic groups

1982 - 1990

Djiraibe starts to assemble a case against Habne to be tried in Senegal

1999

Political climate worsens

2000

Senegal elected a new president, Abdoula, whose advisor on justice issues was none other than Habne's defense counsel

Court of Appeals dismisses charges against Habre

May 2000

Citizens start to bring forward cases within Chad

October 2000

seventeen victims lodged criminal complaints for torture, murder, and disappearances against members of the former political police. Dozens of cases filed against individual torturers have followed.

Constitutional Council decides that 1993 law should be withdrawn

April 2001