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Sat Nov 26, 2016, 01:05 AM

My resignation has to do with a political issue I know that is the case

‘My resignation has to do with a political issue — I know that is the case’
Friday, November 25, 2016

By Santiago Del Carril
Herald Staff

The country’s largest ongoing human rights trial is at a standstill after lead prosecutor Mercedes Soiza Reilly resigned from her post under pressure.

The largest ongoing legal case in the country — the third ESMA “mega-trial” investigating crimes against humanity committed against thousands of victims who were forcibly detained under the last military dictatorship (1976-1983) at the clandestine detention centre at the former ESMA Naval Mechanics School — is at a standstill. And it has been ever since state prosecutor Mercedes Soiza Reilly resigned her post last July.

If such a development was a lone, single incident, perhaps it would not garner much attention. But Soiza Reilly’s decision to stand down came after she was pressured to resign, following complaints from the Judicial Employees’ Union that were made against her regarding the alleged harassment of employees.

It’s a situation that echoes the fate of Judge Carlos Rozanski, who led the La Plata crimes against humanity trial and stepped down on October 20 after being accused of similar wrongdoing.

Although President Mauricio Macri’s administration has publicly declared its support for human rights investigations, emphasising that they are a state policy, several other incidents have sparked concern among human rights activists.

In an interview with the Herald, Soiza Reilly — who now is part of the Attorney General Alejandra Gils Carbó’s unit probing state terrorism under the Junta’s leadership — discussed her experience of leading the ESMA trial, the pressures she and others had to endure, and what is necessary in order for such trials to continue and why they are important.

When did you begin participating in trials addressing crimes against humanity?

About seven years ago when the Attorney General’s Office appointed me to the Automotores Orletti (clandestine detention centre) crimes against humanity trial. This case investigated a clandestine detention centre that held political activists from other countries who had escaped to Argentina before the 1976 coup d’état. Uruguayans, Chileans, Bolivians, amongst others, were held there. Reciprocal agreements with other countries supported our investigation, in concrete terms by collaborating with the declassification of documents from the Armed Forces of countries in the Southern Cone region. In this trial four military officials, who had worked with the former SIDE Intelligence agency military squadrons, were convicted.


Hope we will hear from our Argentina specialist, forest444 again.

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