[JURIST] Judges for the criminal division of the Supreme Court of Chile [official website, in Spanish] Friday reduced the sentences of two men convicted of the 1973 deaths of 15 Chilean farmers [Truth Commission backgrounder]. A lower court had sentenced former Army Col. Hugo Guerra Jorquera to 18 years in prison and civilian businessman Luis García to five years and one day for their roles in the killings, which occurred just weeks after former dictator Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archive] took power. Friday's ruling reduced Jorquera's sentence to five years and García's to three, both to be served under modified house arrest. From Chile, La Nacion has more.
In July, a judge sentenced [JURIST report] former Chilean secret police head Gen. Manuel Contreras [TrialWatch profile] to two consecutive life terms in prison for a 1974 car bombing that killed another general and his wife. In April, Contreras was sentenced [JURIST report] to 15 years in prison for his role in the 1974 disappearance of a political dissident. In November 2007, Chile's Supreme Court affirmed seven convictions and overturned one [JURIST report] in cases involving murders committed by state agents during Pinochet's 1973-90 regime. The court based that decision on the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials], finding that Chile was in a state of internal armed conflict when the murders occurred.