Take the case of Reynaldo Bignone, Argentina’s de facto president during the final seventeen months of the infamous “Dirty War” regime. Bignone was part of a repressive government where tens of thousands of Argentines where killed and “disappeared” between 1976 and 1983. He enjoyed impunity for over two decades until the Argentine Supreme Court in 2005 overturned the amnesty that protected Bignone and other “Ditty War” figures.
For many years the families of victims targeted by Bignone and his cohorts have had to swallow the bitter pill of his impunity. Yet they received a measure of justice last year when he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his involvement in the kidnapping, torture and murder of 56 people at a military complex. A more severe and deserved punishment was handed down yesterday when a judge sentenced him to life in prison for the to torture and murders of political opponents in 1976.
Bignone claimed that the civil court was not "competent" to judge him and his attorneys sought house arrest for the 83-year-old. Yet he will have to spend the rest of his life behind bars along with three other former military or police officers were also given life sentences.
The court’s decision was praised by local human rights organizations and groups representing victims’ families including one that recently received a high honor from UNESCO. According to BBC News:
"This is a historic day for all Argentines of goodwill," said Estela de Carlotto, leader of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group.Bignone still faces trial over the alleged the illegal adoptions of hundreds of babies from parents who were kidnapped and tortured. In the meantime, he will have plenty of time to reflect over his crimes while in prison:
"Many countries are viewing Argentina with growing respect because we are carrying the banners of truth and justice on behalf of the 30,000," she added.
Video Source – ntnnews24 via YouTube
Online Sources- BBC News, Buenos Aires Herald, The Latin Americanist