Augusto Pinochet Ugarte et al.

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Systemic Practice | Punishment | Reparations | Statute of Limitations | Crimes Against Humanity | Deprivation of Liberty

Themes: Characteristics of the Crime | Memory and Reparations | Persons and Groups Affected

The Court found the agents of the National Intelligence working in the barracks where the victims were detained responsible for the crime of "qualified kidnapping", comprised of both the apprehension and placing them in detention. The Court found different levels of responsibility between the accused, distinguishing between immediate authors, mediate authors and co-authors. The Court confirmed that the events constituted crimes against humanity as they were committed in a context of systematic or widespread attack against the civilian population, where multiple agencies were executed repressive functions against political opponents.
The Court referred to a number of international treaties with provisions on the non-applicability of statutory limitations to crimes against humanity, and highlighted how international treaties have have pre-eminence over domestic law according to Chile's Constitution. It also recalled that in the case of permanent crimes, the criminal action continues to be committed as long as the illegal situation lasts. The Court recalled that it is the state’s responsibility, to investigate the facts, punish those responsible, compensate direct and indirect victims, and guarantee the non-repetition of the violations. The Court also found that properly justified judgments are a due process guarantee and found that the appeals judgment which preceded it did not sufficiently explain why compensation was reduced. It stated that the present case was relevant to the public interest and in moving forward from the conflict.

Judgment Date

March 2, 2023

Country

Chile

Judicial Body

Chile - Supreme Court

Articles violated

Article 141 [CCC]

Facts of the Case

In 1974, sixteen militants of opposition groups were arrested in their homes by agents of the National Intelligence Directorate, who loaded them in trucks and took them to a clandestine detention facility. During their detention, the victims remained without contact with the outside and were blindfolded, tied up, and continually subjected to interrogations and torture with the purpose of obtaining information related to members of their political group. The victims were last seen by other detainees in the months following their arrests, and their whereabouts were still unknown at the time of the proceedings. Their names appeared in a list published in the national press in 1975 as part of a disinformation plan carried out by the National Intelligence, making reference to people belonging to left-wing groups who allegedly died abroad.

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