Arce Gomez et al.


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Deprivation of Liberty | Systemic Practice

Themes: Persons and Groups Affected | Related Crimes | Characteristics of the Crime

The Court found the accused guilty for their complicity in aggravated murder, which was characterised by the illegal deprivation of the victims' freedom and by their death as a foreseeable consequence of the deprivation. It also found those who participated in the initial kidnapping responsible for the murder. Taking into account that all of the perpetrators were part of an elite that held roles within the intelligence services with decision-making power, the Court held that they were aware of the objectives pursued by their superiors and that they contributed to achieving the results of those objectives by identifying people to be arrested.

The Court held that those holding higher positions in the forces were complicit even though they did not physically enagge in the detentions or executions, as they, for instance, created intelligence structures, recruited ad hoc personnel, coordinated repressive actions and guaranteed impunity. It also rejected claims that they were not responsible due having to obey orders as the perpetrators would at most have been subjected to disciplinary measures or hurldes in advancing their careers, rather than any risk to their life. Further, the Court found that the premeditation involved in the operations was an aggravating factor and found that the perpetrators had accepted from the very beginning that there was a certainty or high probability that the kidnapped victims would die, and in fact the decision to kill them had already been taken at the point of abduction.

Judgment Date

July 9, 2021

Country

Italy

Judicial Body

Italy - Court of Cassation

Articles violated

Article 575 [ItCC]

Facts of the Case

During the 1970s, the military forces and intelligence services of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay committed acts such as kidnapping, torture, transfers abroad and disappearance against political opponents. The victims included Italian citizens resident in Chile and Argentina, and Uruguayan refugees in Argentina. They were subjected to severe acts of torture and later disappeared from detention centers, being either killed immediately or transferred to unknown places of detention. Some of the victims were freed after collaborating with the authorities, while others were subjected to "show trials" before military courts. The crimes were implemented with systematic and coordinated action between the intelligence services of the countries adhering to the so-called "Plan Condor". The Plan consisted of an agreement between the governments aimed at exchanging information on people belonging to opposition movements, allowing kidnapping, torture and murders of poltical opponents, committed with the agreement of the country where the victim had taken refuge and with a guarantee of impunity.

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