RadioProfile | On May 7, 2003, the Court ruled on the imprescriptibility of offenses related to crimes against humanity

On May 7, 2003, the Justice ruled, for the first time, that crimes “related” to crimes against humanity are also imprescriptible.

It was established by the Federal Chamber of La Plata through a ruling dated April 30 and signed by judges Julio Reboredo and Leopoldo Schiffrin.

In this way, the magistrates agreed with the prosecutor Félix Crous, who had appealed the dismissal for “criminal prescription” that Judge Manuel Blanco had resolved for the retired commissioner Carlos Alberto Navarro.

The former police officer was accused of having hidden and destroyed 23 medical-legal part books from the morgue that they hide in the Police Headquarters of the Province of Buenos Aires.

These books recorded the physical characteristics and causes of death of disappeared persons whose corpses were dumped on public roads and marked as “killed in confrontations” with the military and security forces.

Schiffrin explained that the case “is very serious” because “by destroying the books, a large number of identifications were prevented.

The books were intensely searched within the framework of the Trial for the Truth in order to identify hundreds of dead buried as NN in the La Plata cemetery.

Former commissioner Navarro was the secretary of the police doctor Néstor De Tomas, who was the last official who had them in his hands, according to documents obtained by the Federal Chamber.

De Tomas testified three times before the Justice and said that he delivered the books to the Health Department; but his former boss, Dr. José Albisu, denied the version.

The Court informed De Tomas that he was “solely responsible” for the fate of the books, since there are no records that he delivered them to anyone.

For this reason, he denounced him in September 1999 before the Federal Justice for “cover-up” and “failure to fulfill the duties of a public official.”

Despite this, it was dismissed in 2000 due to “criminal action prescription” and the case was closed.

However, the Memory, Truth and Justice process initiated in Argentina led to the review of judicial decisions and the responsibilities of some magistrates, as described by Felix Crous.

The following year, the judges of the Chamber received an anonymous complaint, within the framework of the Truth Trial, which indicated that Navarro -De Tomas’s right-hand man- had burned the books.

It was then that Crous denounced Navarro in the first instance for the theft, concealment, destruction and uselessness of objects intended to serve as evidence.

The case returned to the Blanco court, which also dismissed it; but the prosecutor appealed and the file was elevated to the Federal Chamber.

In the ruling, judges Reboredo and Schiffrin considered that the destruction of documents related to the disappearance of people “is not a common crime”, but rather has a similar gravity to crimes against humanity and, therefore, the passage of the time does not prevent it from being investigated.

The story is also news on Radio Perfil. Voiceover by Pita Fortín and script by Javier Pasaragua.

by Radio Profile

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