Pinochet Must Face Kidnapping Charges
- Chilean judge orders Pinochet to stand trial on kidnapping
December 1, 2000
Web posted at: 1:07 p.m. EST (1807 GMT)
SANTIAGO, Chile -- Former Chilean ruler Gen. Augusto
Pinochet was ordered to return to house arrest on Friday,
this time in his native Chile, after a judge ordered him to
stand trial on kidnapping charges stemming from his
iron-fisted 1973 to 1990 rule.
Pinochet was indicted in connection with the disappearance
of 19 prisoners at the hands of the so-called "caravan of
death" in the early months of his presidency.
"It helps in many ways to reestablish the credibility of the
Chilean judiciary," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive
director of Human Rights Watch-Americas Division. "The judge
in charge of the case, Judge Juan Guzman, has been doing
very thorough and careful work and this is a historic
development in terms of the fight against impunity for
atrocities in Chile."
Pinochet had been placed under house arrest in 1998 in
London, where he remained for 16 months while international
lawyers wrangled with a Spanish judge's request for his
extradition on human rights abuse charges.
The ailing former dictator returned to Chile in March,
however, after British Home Secretary Jack Straw eventually
ruled that he was too ill to stand trial.
A Chilean government report said that more than 3,000 people
"disappeared" or were killed under the watch of Pinochet,
who ruled after wresting control from democratically elected
Socialist President Salvador Allende.
Allende was killed during the coup.
Pinochet's health may yet keep him from standing trial. The
judge handling the case in Santiago has ordered medical and
neurological tests to determine Pinochet's fitness, and
Chilean law requires psychological tests for anyone over 70
The Chilean courts, once loyal to Pinochet, had earlier
stripped the ailing Pinochet of immunity from prosecution he
claimed as senator for life, a position he assumed when he
left the presidency in 1990.
Chilean judge orders arrest, trial of ex-dictator Augusto
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - The case against Augusto Pinochet
moved forward Friday, with a Chilean judge indicting the
former dictator on kidnapping charges and ordering him to
face trial in the disappearance of 19 prisoners.
The two charges stem from 187 criminal complaints lodged
against Pinochet for alleged human rights violations
committed during his 17-year rule, which ended in 1990. The
disappearances mentioned in Friday's charges happened in
1973, in the first months of Pinochet's regime.
Judge Juan Guzman said he also ordered the 85-year-old
former strongman placed under house arrest.
Pinochet's lawyers have been trying to keep him from going
to trial, saying he is in ill health. Guzman has ordered
psychiatric and physical tests, and those are pending. The
judge will determine if Pinochet goes on trial.
Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas
division of the New York-based group Human Rights Watch,
called the indictment "an excellent development" and said it
helps "re-establish the credibility of the Chilean
But supporters of the former dictator denounced it as a
travesty of justice.
"This is an aberration of jurisprudence," said lawyer
Fernando Barros, who has frequently spoken in defense of
Pinochet. He said the indictment was an attempt by "certain
persons" intended on changing historical truths.
Last week, Pinochet made a hesitant admission of
responsibility for atrocities the military committed during
his rule, saying in a taped message for his birthday that he
accepts "all the facts."
"As a former president of the republic, I accept all the
facts that they say the army and the armed forces did,"
Pinochet said, speaking hesitatingly. But he also added that
some of the accusations against his government are just
Pinochet made similar statements last year in a "Letter to
Chileans," a lengthy document he sent home from London while
he was under house arrest there.
According to a report by the civilian government that
succeeded Pinochet, 3,197 people disappeared or were killed
while he was in power.
Pinochet was kept under house arrest in London from October
1998 until he was freed in March because of health problems.
He returned to an elected, civilian democracy in Chile and
found himself facing emboldened courts and prosecutors. He
had long been considered untouchable.
Guzman, a federal magistrate who has led efforts to
prosecute Pinochet, confirmed the indictment upon leaving a
Santiago courthouse, as did lawyers for both sides. He said
Pinochet was also wanted on suspicion of being the
"intellectual author" of some 55 deaths - as well as the 19
Those cases stem from the so-called Caravan of Death, one of
the most notorious human rights cases during Pinochet's
rule. In the first weeks after a September 1973 coup led by
Pinochet, military officers led a flying death squad along
the length of Chile, pulling suspected opponents from jails
for execution, human rights groups charge.
The Website of Lord Weÿrdgliffe:
The Dan Clore Necronomicon Page:
"Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas
zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam
not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not;
Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang
and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in
night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna),
-- The Book of Dzyan.