The history of Argentina's judicial efforts to punish the crimes of the nation's last dictatorship (1976–1983) has been shaped by initial trials to prosecute the armed forces, a prolonged period of impunity, and a current chapter of renewed legal proceedings to bring to justice those responsible for the disappearance and death of thousands of Argentine citizens. In 1985, the trial of the junta led to the sentencing of several of the main architects of state terror. The rulings were quickly undermined, however, by a series of “impunity laws,” which placed time limits on the filing of cases and also shielded lower-ranking officers from investigation and prosecution. In 1990, then president Carlos Menem pardoned those convicted in the 1985 trials, citing national reconciliation. What followed was an extended era of legal stalemates and a redoubling of efforts on the part of human rights...

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