Clara Sczaranski Should Resign
Due to her collusion with the criminals





October 1, 2004

The statements issued by the State Defense Council (CDE) through its President Clara Sczaranski, calling to redefine crimes of aggravated abduction as homicides, in order to permit application of the Decree Amnesty Law, compel us at the Corporation for the Promotion and Defense of the Rights of the People (CODEPU) to inform the public of the implications of that position.

1. At this time the Supreme Court has the historic opportunity to establish a jurisdictional precedent in regards to the force of the Decree Amnesty Law in cases involving forced disappearances of persons. The decision it makes on the motions to dismiss filed by the upper echelons of the former DINA repressive force in the case of Miguel Angel Sandoval, arrested and disappeared since 1975 will shape the future course of human rights cases.
Should the Supreme Court uphold the lower court rulings, the prison sentences issued for the defendants will enter into effect, thus clearly establishing that amnesty is inapplicable in cases of aggravated abduction.

2. Ignoring the weight of categorical rulings on the legal nature of the disappearances of thousands of persons, the State Defense Council poses a contrary theses, lacking in judicial merit, and national jurisprudence has never qualified as homicide crimes in which a body is not found.

3. The State Defense Council position disregards the nature of crimes against humanity that comprise the human rights violations committed in Chile. Under international law, such crimes are not subject to amnesty or statutes of limitation. As a member of the international community and a signatory to international human rights treaties, the State of Chile has binding obligations regarding the grave human rights violations that occurred in the recent past. Those obligations oblige it to prevent, investigate, and punish those persons responsible for the crimes.

International jurisprudence regarding application and force of law of amnesty has repeatedly and resoundingly indicated that it infringes upon international obligations of the States that sign the international human rights treaties. For example, the Inter American Human Rights Court has consistently repudiated this type of mechanism as a means to shield individuals from justice. The Court has stated:

"Amnesties decreed by States that employ these as a mechanism for peace and national reconciliation have failed to protect many innocent victims of violence, who are deprived of the right to justice for their fair claims against individuals who committed abuses and acts of barbarism against them. In practice, this situation implies disavowing international obligations set forth in article 1.1 of the American Convention of Human Rights, and gives clearly a failure to observe measures enshrined for the purpose of exercising rights violated."

4. The position of the State Defense Council is extraordinarily serious. This institution is a party to the prosecution in many human rights cases, and represents the interests of the State. Therefore, the opinion of this entity may be decisive in the Supreme Court determination to apply or not to apply the Decree Amnesty Law. It is morally and ethically unacceptable that this entity is plaintiff while also reaffirming the allegations of the defendants who intend to evade their penal responsibility by unfounded arguments.

5. The opinions of the State Defense Council appear banal in light of the progress that has been made towards the achievement of truth and justice in our country, despite the existence of the amnesty decree. In fact, at this present time Chile has approximately 300 judicial cases underway for disappeared persons, out of a total 1174 victims. Approximately 450 legal cases are under way for persons executed for political motives, put of a total 3195 victims. In addition CODEPU alone has filed 10 criminal complaints for the crime of torture of former political prisoners, representing 147 victims of various clandestine centers of abduction and interrogation, out of a total of 36,000 survivors of torture, according to the records of the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture.

This progress has resulted largely from the work of special inquest judges and judges appointed exclusively to investigate human rights violations, leading to 460 indictments against the responsible parties. Were the State Defense Council thesis to prosper, all possibility for justice may be jeopardized, definitively implanting impunity in our country, by preventing punishment once the penal responsibilities and material authors of the crimes have been identified.

6. Consequently, for calling upon the State of Chile to disregard its international obligations regarding protection of human rights, and for exposing Chile to the discredit of the international community and because of the harm to the moral integrity of victims and their families, we demand that Clara Sczaranski resign. Moreover, we also demand that government officials, and the executive branch in particular, not disregard the most serious implications of this position, and establishes its policies in compliance with International Human Rights Law.

Paz Rojas Baeza
Viviana Uribe Tamblay
Victor Espinoza Cuevas
Alejandra Arriaza
Federico Aguirre Madrid




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