Friday, May 20, 2011

Uruguayan legislators choose to keep the law of amnesty for military

The Chamber of Deputies of Uruguay has rejected the plan of the ruling Frente Amplio (FA) to remove the amnesty law, which prevented try military and police who violated human rights during the dictatorship (1973-1985). After 14 hours of heated debate, the government deputy Victor Semproni its pledge to abstain and the FA came within one vote to achieve the majority needed to take forward the initiative (49 versus 98).

The amnesty law, adopted in 1986, prevents judges seek authorization from the Government of the South American country of 3.4 million people to persecute members of the security forces suspected of committing human rights violations during the dictatorship. By failing to annul its effects, the nearly 7,000 political prisoners alleging torture and abuse during the dictatorship can not initiate a process to seek justice.

Members in favor of the amnesty law argue that it has been ratified in two referendums (1989 and 2009). Referendums held in 1989 and 2009 held the amnesty law in force, but the Uruguayan Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional on several occasions for violating the Latin American country's international obligations, in addition to its Constitution.

Amnesty International (AI) found on Friday that Uruguay "has missed an historic opportunity" by failing to repeal the amnesty law. Guadalupe Marengo, director of the AI program in America, found on Friday that Uruguay has "a moral and legal obligation" to protect those who suffered torture rather than "protect the torturers." For AI, the annulment of the Act would have been a "step forward for victims of abuses by the dictatorship," and that "protects people who abused human rights and goes against international law." "The Uruguayans have lost the opportunity to eliminate a rule that places abusers over the legal system, thus violating the principle of equality before the law," he said AI.

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