The Argentine Federal Prosecutor’s Office has added sexual harassment and anti-Semitism charges to the case against Argentine military officers for the torture of their own soldiers during the Malvinas War, the 40th anniversary of whose outbreak falls today.
The motion filed by Río Grande federal prosecutor Marcelo Rapoport and prosecutor for crimes against humanity María Ángeles Ramos, “analyses immersion in ice-cold water as a torture method and sexual harassment cases in a context of anti-Semitism committed against 24 victims”, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office reported in its Thursday newsletter.
The torture charges commenced in 2007 before Río Grande (Tierra del Fuego) courts based on the testimony of former combatants. Some 180 events had already been reported and around 100 officers charged, but only four have been prosecuted and are awaiting their hearings.
According to the Former Combatants’ Centre CECIM based in La Plata, the officers applied the repressive methodology of the 1976-83 dictatorship (1976-1983) on the Malvinas and victimised their own soldiers.
In addition to hunger and cold weather, a few soldiers suffered such torments as “staking” (being crucified on the ground for hours with their limbs attached to stakes) and being buried under mud and snow.
The case is virtually halted pending the Supreme Court’s ruling whether they are crimes against humanity and thus not subject to statutes of limitations.
“This time the prosecution added 22 torture cases to the investigated events, and indicted 18 army officers of different ranks, as well as two harassment charges against another junior officer of soldiers of the Mechanised Infantry, as explained in the press release.”
The charges describes “the deeply rooted anti-Semitic sentiment within the Argentine armed forces” and points out that “particularly in the context of the Malvinas war, [Jews] were dismissed as non-Argentines, and accused of cowardice or treason.”
An unidentified Infantry private said that a second lieutenant named Flores Ardoino “would punish him every day he spent on the Falklands for being Jewish”. He would discriminate against him for his religion and blame him for everything wrong in his life, causing his fellow-soldiers to resent him, according to the prosecution.
The added charges are based on a new assessment of the evidence found after all the Malvinas military archives were declassified, as specified by the report.