Argentine Jewish community organizations, DAIA and AMIA strongly rejected on Monday the government of President Cristina Fernandez decision to sign an agreement with Iran for the naming of a special ‘truth’ commission referred to the 1994 attack to a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires which left 85 dead and hundreds injured.
In a strongly worded joint release the organizations said in reference to the Sunday announcement that “the conformation of a ‘truth commission’ is not contemplated in Argentine Law which regulates the penal procedures, and implies a declination of our sovereignty and an acknowledgement that the conclusions from the (Argentine) judicial investigation and which gave way to the Interpol arrest warrants (of several Iranian officials) are not true”.
Likewise “let’s recall that the work of our prosecutors and the votes taken by the Interpol Secretary and General Assembly opened the way for the arrest warrants and the red releases”, added the communiqué.
According to the report, at the time it was announced that the Legal Affairs Committee from Interpol, following on the work presented and detailed by Argentine prosecutors “decided that evidence was sufficient and apt for the issuing of arrest warrants”,
Finally the AMIA, DAIA release argues that “ignoring all that has been performed by Argentine Justice and replacing it with a ‘commission’ which in the best of cases and with no time table, will issue “a recommendation” to both sides, is undoubtedly a significant back step in the objective of making justice.
“Any committee to be created can’t have any other purpose but to control and regulate the legality of the investigation”, conclude the two Jewish organizations.
In July 1994 an attack on the AMIA building in downtown Buenos Aires left 85 killed, hundreds injured in the midst of rubble and debris. Since then the Jewish community has been demanding for Justice and later investigations led to Hezbollah, Iran and local accomplices allegedly involved in the terrorist action.
However no arrests have been made in the case even when Argentina formally accused the Iranian government of directing the bombing and Hezbollah of carrying it out. Six Iranians have been on the Interpol international police agency's most wanted list since 2007 in connection with the bombing, including the current Iranian defense minister, Gen. Ahmed Vahidi.
In October 2010, Iran rejected Argentina's proposal to put its accused citizens on trial in a neutral country. ”The Iranian government has ensured that no Iranian citizen was involved, directly or indirectly, in the bombing of the AMIA” read the official letter sent to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Since then both sides have been holding discreet meetings which concluded Sunday in Addis Ababa with the signing of the agreement now criticized by the Jewish communities and also Israel
In Addis Ababa Argentina announced it had agreed to establish an independent international “truth commission” led by a jurist “with high moral standing and legal prestige” to examine the Buenos Aires attack.
Israel said it was surprised and caught ‘off guard’ by the announcement and remains ‘actively cautious’ regarding the issue.
“We warned the Argentineans that Iran will try to take advantage of them and manoeuvre them for their own propaganda” said a foreign ministry spokesperson adding that it expected Buenos Aires to keep Israel apprised of developments in the case.
“We expect to receive full information from the Argentine government on this significant development, as it is a matter that is directly relevant to us” the spokesperson said. The agreement still needs legislative approval in both nations.
From Buenos Aires President Cristina Fernandez described the agreement as ‘historic’ and said it provides “a legal framework with due-process rights for the accused that could be a model for conflict resolution”
She added that the agreement puts the dispute firmly in the hands of legal experts overseen by independent arbitrators.