13 April 2020 Codepu Team

On Thursday, April 9, the Eighth Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Santiago, presided over by Minister Juan Cristóbal Mera and composed of Minister Mireya López and attorney Cristián Lepín, issued a ruling about the disappearance of 17 people from Villa Grimaldi, perpetrated by the National Intelligence Agency (DINA).

The victims’ families, upon hearing the news, called it an «aberrant failure.» This is the most accurate description of this resolution, a legal, ethical and historical aberration. The aberrant nature of the ruling increases the admiration that the victims deserve, for their dignity and that of their families, for their persistent struggle to uphold memory, truth, and justice.

The ruling is legally aberrant as it considers innocent a group of armed State Agents and assumes that they acted in an unpremeditated manner while they clandestinely followed, stalked and kidnaped unarmed men and women, one of whom was a woman in an advanced state of pregnancy. They took them to clandestine torture centers, subjected them to violent torture and killed them in the secrecy of the night, without them ever having the opportunity to defend themselves. Furthermore, all of this was done with the support of the entire State apparatus at the time.

It is legally aberrant to violate international obligations, found in instruments such as the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Convention against Torture. These Conventions require that serious crimes against humanity be punished with an appropriate penalty, a penalty that is proportional to the gravity of the crime.

It is legally aberrant that the nature of the human rights violations perpetrated by the DINA as «organized crime» was not acknowledged. It is also aberrant that they do not acknowledge the Agents’ clear collaboration and consent in the participation of these crimes against humanity. Today we condemn the absolution of the sentence by Minister, Leopoldo Llanos, who had originally classified and sentenced these agents as accomplices.

It is aberrant that institutions of impunity are applied, such as the use of the limitation period in order to make the punishment meaningless.

It is legally aberrant that they do not understand that the victims suffered forced disappearances and were kidnapped more than forty years ago and that to this day their whereabouts are unknown, what their final fate was, and that their perpetrators remain silent and insist on continuing to commit the crime.

It is an ethical aberration to affront the value of justice and human dignity by trivializing these crimes, that included kidnapping, torturing and the forced disappearance of a pregnant woman, elderly people, and a medical professional, all of whom were defenseless and unarmed.

It is an ethical aberration, it must be said, to suggest that they are to blame because of their political militancy, which is argued exposed them to harm and thus they deserved the fate that they suffered.

It is a historical aberration when the hand that writes this present ruling is repeating the same actions that once led the international community to point out that the conduct of the Chilean magistracy allowed and facilitated the crimes of the dictatorship. These actions deserved the stoning judgments of the Report of the National Commission of Truth and Reconciliation that created in 1990. These actions also led the Supreme Court, on several occasions, in a joint pronouncement, to recognize and reproach the impropriety of the conduct of the Judicial Branch under the dictatorship. This ruling repeats exactly the historical conduct of those magistrates who cooperated with the crimes of the Dictatorship and who filled the Judiciary with contempt.
We have full confidence that the Supreme Court will rectify the judgment of the Eighth Chamber of the Court of Appeal. But, we would like to point out that the international obligations, to which our country has subscribed, bind the Chilean State to its responsibility, and that the damage to family members, to the image of the judiciary and to Chilean society as a whole has already been done.