[JURIST] A court in Argentina on Tuesday convicted eight formal officials for human rights abuses committed during the 1976-83 Dirty War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. The seven former army officers and a former police official were tried in connection with the kidnapping, torture and disappearances of a group of leftist guerrillas. Three defendants, including former Army chief Cristino Nicolaides, now 80, were sentenced to 25 years in prison, while the remaining defendants received sentences ranging from 20 to 23 years.
In 2005, the Argentinean Supreme Court struck down amnesty laws [JURIST report] adopted in the 1980s, prompting the government to reopen hundreds of human rights cases, though only a handful of those who played a role in crimes during the Dirty War have faced trial thus far. In October, former military chaplain and Catholic priest Christian von Wernich was convicted of crimes against humanity, and former police officials Miguel Etchecolatz [JURIST reports] and Julio Simon were convicted last year. Hector Febres, a former director of the detention center at the Navy Mechanics School [BBC backgrounder], was on trial, but was found dead [JURIST reports] in his military jail cell earlier this month. Former president Reynaldo Bignone [JURIST report] also faces charges. In April, a federal court revoked the pardons [JURIST report] of Jorge Videla and Emilio Eduardo Massera [Trial Watch profiles], and Ricardo Miguel Cavallo [JURIST news archive] faces charges in Spain. AP has more.