A ruling from Argentina’s Supreme Court admitted “Malvinas war veteran condition” to a petty officer who was deployed in Puerto Belgrano and Rio Grande during the 1982 conflict thus enabling him to a veteran’s pension.
The administrative description of a Malvinas war veteran and thus entitled to the pension is that the combatant effectively was at the battle theatre meaning by this the Falklands/Malvinas, and was specifically not extensive to personnel who even having actively participated were stationed in Patagonia’s military bases.
The ruling is considered a lead case for the 9.500 former Argentine conscripts that during the 1982 conflict were deployed along the Argentine continental coast south of parallel 42, from Trelew to Ushuaia. Furthermore it could influence the demands of veterans that are camped in Buenos Aires Plaza de Mayo next to Casa Rosada (Government House) since 2008 claiming their pensions.
According to La Nacion the three Argentine forces are elaborating lists of personnel deployed along south Patagonia as part of the war effort in 1982. According to Argentine Armed Forces sources the condition of war veteran has been determined by law and refers to all those involved in the South Atlantic Operations Theatre, TOAS, which includes the Islands, continental platform and air and submarine spaces.
“The pilots who took off from Patagonia bases penetrated several times the theatre of operations, while the mechanics and support crews for fuel and bombs remained in the continent and never entered the theatre of operations”.
However the Legislative council from the City of Buenos Aires last October ordered the creation of a roll call of all former conscripts from the city’s district who participated in the continental deployment. This was based on instructions from then R/Admiral Juan Jose Lombardo, head of TOAS, who in April 1982 stated that “all enemy action deployed along the South Atlantic coastline belonging to the jurisdiction of the war theatre is responsibility of this command”.
The 9,500 former conscripts to which must be added the officers and petty officers that did not actually participate in the theatre of operations, were exposed to the same risk situation as that of Carmelo Antonio Gerez who appealed and managed the favourable ruling from Argentina’s Supreme Court, 28 years after the war ended.
The High court ruled that even when Corporal Gerez was not ordered to the Malvinas or to TOAS, stationed in the Patagonia coast he was exposed to “risk situations” thus overruling the geographic element.
The Malvinas war veteran pension for life is equivalent to the minimum full pension of the Argentine system, equivalent to 265 US dollars, which means if the benefit is confirmed and extended to the former conscripts, now officially war veterans, this would represent an additional 30 million US dollars per annum to the Treasury.
During the 1982 conflict with Britain 17 Argentine combatants were killed at Patagonian coast bases and proclaimed as “national heroes”.