Sunday, October 24

Rapes, torture and murders: micro-stories so as not to forget the crimes of the Argentine dictatorship | International


On December 29, 1976, the Argentine military kidnapped Silvia Labayrú, 20 years old and five months pregnant. Labayrú, from a military family and a member of the Montoneros guerrilla organization, gave birth on April 28 on a table in the Higher Mechanical School of the Navy (ESMA), the largest clandestine center of the dictatorship that led the country between 1976 and 1983. When she was still recovering from childbirth, one of the officers urged her to have sex with one of them if she wanted to stay alive. He did it to survive, as revealed in the trial for crimes against sexual integrity at ESMA that began last September. His heartbreaking testimony before the courts and those of other victims of State terrorism are now disseminated through micro-stories that seek to increase the visibility of the trials for crimes against humanity underway in Argentina and make them accessible to different generations.

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“Less than a month after giving birth, the captain approaches me [Jorge] Acosta, takes me to a separate room and tells me that I have to lose weight because I am very fat and because I have to be in better physical condition, that the best way to show them that I did not hate them was that I had some relationship there with one of they, from the military. I had to understand that this was part of the recovery process if I wanted to go free, “says Labayrú in the first of the audiovisual shorts created by the Secretariat for Human Rights.

In another of them, Patricia Maciel relates how her six-year-old brother opened cans of expert tomatoes, put salt on them and gave them to her to eat, who was four years old at the time, during the days after her kidnapping. parents, Herminia Mimí Inchaurraga and José Rolando Pirulo Maciel, in the Argentine city of Rosario in 1976. “We opened the glass sheets in the garage and sat there to look. The neighbors were very afraid of what had happened. They knew we were alone, but they did not approach because they were so afraid […] They say that we cried screaming, that we called our parents“Maciel told the court that last August he began to try crimes perpetrated by the dictatorship in Rosario.

Commemoration held in Buenos Aires in 2013 in memory of the victims and disappeared during the dictatorship. On video, one of the microdocumentaries.Monica Paz (Photo: Getty | Video: SDH Argentina)

“We form a transdisciplinary team with lawyers, artists, poets, illustrators … with the aim of transmitting to people what happens in the courtroom in an attractive way and that can also be used to work on it in other areas, such as schools”, affirms the chief of staff of the Secretariat for Human Rights, Nicolas Rapetti, in his office, located in one of the former ESMA buildings, now converted into a memory space.

Some micro-stories disseminate trials in progress, whose hearings can be followed online through the web, and others summarize some that have already been concluded, such as the conviction of two former directors of the Ford carmaker for considering them accomplices of the military in the kidnapping and torture of 24 workers. in which it was the first conviction of two former senior officials of a multinational for this type of crime.

More than a thousand condemned

Civil complicity and sexual violence are some of the new themes that emerged in the trials for crimes against humanity that Argentina resumed in 2006 after repealing the laws of due obedience and full stop. Since then, 250 sentences have been handed down in which 1,013 people have been convicted, according to the latest report from the Office of the Ombudsman for crimes against humanity.

“It is an unprecedented process in the world and we receive prosecutors from Germany and other places who come to see what is happening here and we are proud, but there are also aspects of which we are not proud, such as the delay caused by the causes”, Rapetti admits.

On average, the verdict of the trials for crimes against humanity takes almost ten years. The brake of all Argentina at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic also had an impact on these trials, which in the end, like the others, were virtually resumed. “There was a discussion about what to do at the beginning between victims, relatives, lawyers and human rights organizations because there was a need to be present in the courtroom and accompany, but later we agreed between all that we could not suspend them, among other reasons, because both the victims and the repressors are dying, ”says Rapetti. The end of each micro-story recalls that race against time because justice is done: “The trials cannot wait, neither can the victims.”

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