Annual Report: Chile 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Chile 2010

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Chile ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in June and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in December. In September, the government announced its intention to reopen both the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture and the National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation (the Valech and Rettig Commissions) in order to allow previously unregistered cases of torture and enforced disappearance to be presented.

The Supreme Court announced that it would speed up the processing of cases of human rights violations committed during the military government of Augusto Pinochet, amid concerns that reforms to the Code of Criminal Procedure in 2010 might stall pending cases. According to official figures, between January and October, 69 former security force agents were charged, sentenced or tried in connection with human rights violations. However, by the end of October, final sentences had been handed down in only 179 out of a total of 3,186 cases.

In September, more than 165 former agents of the National Intelligence Directorate (Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional, DINA) were charged in connection with their involvement in the torture and enforced disappearance of political activists.

  • In September, the Supreme Court ruled that torture committed at the Chilean Airforce Training Unit between September 1973 and January 1975 constituted a crime against humanity. Only two people, retired colonels Edgar Cevallos Jones and Ramón Cáceres Jorquera, were sentenced in connection with these crimes.
  • The trial of former Prosecutor General Alfonso Podlech in connection with the enforced disappearance of four people in the 1970s began in Italy in November and was continuing at the end of the year.
  • In December, a judge ordered the arrest of six people after fresh investigations into the death in 1982 of former President Eduardo Frei Montalva revealed the cause of death was poisoning, rather than an infection as initially believed. The Supreme Court subsequently rejected legal challenges (amparo) by those charged. Lawyers for the Frei family argued that he was murdered because of his opposition to the government of Augusto Pinochet.