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Court Watch


ligence officials in Poland had denied the exis- tence of such black sites. The only Polish intelli- gence official who has spoken publicly about the CIA’s site in the village of Stare Kiejkuty said that the facility was probably used as a vacation site for U.S. soldiers returning from Afghanistan. The investigation, now in its fifth year, is losing steam because of the possibility that further inquiries would implicate high-ranking Polish statesmen and harm Poland’s alliance with the U.S., a key ally. The prosecutor’s office in Poland also claims that issues with U.S. cooperation are hampering investigation efforts.


In his complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, al-Nashiri alleges that Poland violated the Geneva (III) and (IV) Conventions by: 1) allowing his “torture, ill-treatment, and incommunicado detention” in Poland; 2) allowing his transfer from Poland despite the risk of his further ill-treatment, incommunicado arrest, and subjection to the death penalty; and 3) failing to effectively investi- gate his ill-treatment. The ECtHR has announced that it will hold a trial in the case of al-Nashiri.


*Submitted by Blake Evans


Chilean Judge Refuses to Prosecute Former Army General for Murder


For the second time in a year, Chilean judge Mario Carroza has rejected a request by human rights lawyer Eduardo Contreras to prosecute Fernando Matthei for murder. Matthei, a former general of the Chilean Army, was the director of a military facility where Chilean Army General Alberto Bachelet was tortured and died. Carro- za rejected Contreras’ claim that new evidence proved that Matthei had knowledge of Bachelet’s death. Contreras has announced that he will ap- peal the ruling.


Background


In September 1973, Augusto Pinochet, former Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, staged


a bloody coup ousting Chilean president Salva- dor Allende. Pinochet’s newly instituted military junta quickly became known for its appalling hu- man rights violations. The new regime murdered, tortured, and “disappeared” a number of Allende supporters, including General Bachelet, during Pinochet’s 17-year regime.


General Bachelet was arrested for treason and taken to Chile’s Air War Academy (“the Acade- my”), where he died in March 1974. A 2012 fo- rensic study concluded that the interrogations and torture at the Academy damaged Bachelet’s heart; Bachelet’s death was ultimately attributed to cardiac arrest.


Contreras claims that testimony from retired Air Force Colonels Ramon Carcares and Edgar Ce- ballos “make[s] it more than clear” that Matthei knew what was taking place at the Academy and was aware of Bachelet’s death. Carcares and Ce- ballos were in charge of caring for Bachelet and Ceballos was a torturer at the Academy. Despite the testimony, Carroza held that there was insuf- ficient evidence to change the Court’s previous conclusion that Bachelet’s heart problems were “aggravated by torture sessions” and his death was “probably” the result of torture.


Current Situation


Contreras’ second attempt to prosecute Matthei comes just before Chile’s presidential election. The candidates are Michelle Bachelet and Evelyn Matthei, and it should come as no surprise that both women are the daughters of Gens. Bache- let and Matthei, respectively. What may come as a surprise, though, is the women’s long history with one another; they were childhood friends and playmates. Their fathers, too, were friends and the women remained cordial even after Bachelet’s death. Michelle Bachelet does not be- lieve Matthei was directly involved in her father’s death and has stated publicly that she did not seek Contreras’ representation here.


ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 1 » October 2013


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