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ARGENTINA | 03-05-2019 17:40

Ex-Army chief César Milani stands trial for dictatorship-era crimes

Milani, who served as chief of the Armed Forces under president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, faces allegations of kidnap and torture dating back to 1977.

César Milani, the former head of Argentina's Armed Forces under president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, today went on trial in La Rioja for the alleged kidnapping and torture of a father and son during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

Milani, who served as commander-in-chief of the Army between 2013 and 2015, is accused of participating in an operation that led to the kidnap and torture suspected father and son dissidents Pedro and Ramón Olivera, in 1977.

The trial is taking place in the capital of the western province of La Rioja, where the events allegedly took place. Milani, who is detained at the Campo de Mayo military base, attended via videoconference.

Two others are involved in the trial, including former federal judge Roberto Catalán, who is accused of covering up the crime. Former military officer Alfredo Santacrocce is also in the dock.

At the time of the alleged offences, Milani – now 64 – was a young second lieutenant.

"We believe that we have ample evidence and there is no room for anything other than a conviction for the accused, who will have all the rights denied to other citizens in this trial," said lawyer Viviana Reynoso, who represents the Olivera family.

Pedro Olivera, who died in 1999, suffered a stroke while being tortured and survived, despite having been abandoned by his captors. 

Ramón, who was freed during the dictatorship, first denounced Milani in 1984 before the Provincial Human Rights Commission of La Rioja, though the case did not progress until he reconfirmed those statements before the courts in 2013.

Other trials

Milani faces three trials overall. The former Army chief is also accused of being involved in the forced disappearance of a soldier in 1976, for which he is facing a separate trial, beginning in Tucumán in September. 

Others charged in the case are being tried for aggravated homicide, illegal trespass, deprivation of liberty and torture, according to the Judicial Information Center.

In addition, Milani faces allegations of "illicit enrichment" related to irregular operations involving the purchase of materials in the United States.

- TIMES/AFP

 

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