Petition Seeks Repeal of Definitive Dismissal of Pinochet



Attorneys Argue for Repeal of the Ruling
on Account of Serious Flaws

May 25, 2003



Since the beginning of the year, six briefs have been filed with Chile's Supreme Court asking the judges of the Second Chamber, also known as the Penal Chamber to correct the ruling of July 1, 2002 that ordered the definitive dismissal of proceedings against Augusto Pinochet in the Caravan of Death trial due to his alleged mental incapacity.

On January 1, 2003, attorney Juan Pavin, on behalf of the American Association of Jurists, in collaboration with his colleague Juan Subercaseaux, secretary of the organization, filed a Petition for Clarification, Rectification and Amendment. The petition was followed by a series of six briefs - filed January 20, April 2, April 29,May 6, May 7, and May 8 of 2003 - that expanded the Petition.

(See complete text of the Recurso de Aclaracion, Rectificacion y Enmienda, in Spanish only at this time.)

Attorneys Pavin and Subercaseaux have meticulously and repeatedly pointed out flaws in the medical report that evaluated Pinochet's mental health. They have also indicated that the Supreme Court ruling omits important aspects of the report that give evidence of the good health enjoyed by the former dictator. Such errors, they say, justify the repeal of the ruling.

The Petition and the subsequent six briefs seek a pronouncement from the Supreme Court that recognizes the judicial errors committed in the Ruling to Definitively Dismiss Proceedings. The high court's response after the last brief of May 8, 2003 was limited to the following brief words: "Šin the absence of dark or dubious points that require clarification, petition is dismissed."

Considering the evidence of error amassed in their scrutiny of the medical reports, the attorneys say that the Supreme Court's refusal to review the ruling will warrant an accusation of denial of justice against the State of Chile within the next six months. The complaint may be filed either before the Inter American Human Rights Commission or before another tribunal that has universal jurisdiction.

Below we highlight some of the points indicated in the briefs:

Brief filed April 28, 2003:

"The ruling completely omits Pinochet's own statement to interrogatories, of 1- 23-2001, about events related to the Caravan of Death of 1973 (pages 5797 to 5800), in which he responded to seven questions from the judge and acknowledges a key document, a note by him in his own handwriting. All of which is consistent with the line of defense developed by his attorneys."

"The ruling totally omits the statements made by Pinochet's children in interviews with the press: Augusto (Revista Caras, 3- 17- 2000), "he remembers everything") and Jacqueline (Revista Caras, 9-1-2000), "his memory is perfect", "my father is lucid and he will defend himself like a soldier," "mentally my father has no problem whatsoever" (pages 242-244-245)."

Brief filed May 6, 2003:

"As a third point, we request that Your Honors consider that on page 5872, in Whereas 4 that sets forth the legal basis for the indictment of Augusto Pinochet ( page 5884 ), Judge Juan Guzman Tapia states that he was able to confirm upon questioning Pinochet that he "has normal understanding of the questions posed and expresses himself with clarity."

Brief May 7, 2003:

"However, there is one point which is most serious from the standpoint of evidence in a trial. The plaintiffs were not able to object any part of the medical legal expert tests of Pinochet prepared for the court of first instance, for the simple fact that they were not permitted access to the evaluation until after the decision regarding the health situation taken by Judge Guzman."


For further reading on the medical evaluations of Pinochet, please refer to the following documents contained within this web site:
Letter from Dr. Luis Fornazzari, Consideraciones Juridicas y Biblicas para Anular el Sobreseimiento de Pinochet (in Spanish), Third Report on the Mental Health of Pinochet

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