Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has defended the designation of César Milani as head of the Armed Forces, and complained that those who previously voted for the Due Obedience and Final Stop laws put in doubt her administration's human rights record.
We live in a country where the law rules and I am not going to allow any type of media lynching from those who are only interested in hurting a government, the head of state maintained on Tuesday from the presidential palace Casa Rosada.
General Milani is facing growing claims about his alleged participation in crimes against humanity and has already voluntarily declared before courts in the provinces of La Rioja and Tucuman.
In Tucuman in 1975/76 the Argentine army organized “Operation Independence” which virtually exterminated small groups of pretended rural guerrillas.
Witnesses have come up claiming Milani then a young Intelligence officer was involved in excesses with prisoners and was aware of disappearances.
A lot of military figures had nothing to do with what happened in that tragic era of the Videla dictatorship, underlined Cristina Fernandez.
Please, let's not pick the wrong road. It is very interesting that those who are criticising us as bad people, vengeful and persecutors [of the Armed Forces] now appear to be defenders of human rights.
Cristina Fernandez also attacked the opposition for turning the alleged claims against Milani into fodder for the electoral campaign.
“In my government all officials, whether with uniform or not finally will have to let courts decide, but I ask Argentines not to commit the blunders of the past when there were people interested in confronting civilians with those wearing uniforms”.
Opposition members have repeatedly urged the President to call for the resignation of Army Chief Milani.
“To celebrate 30 years of democracy with an Army Chief suspected of committing illegal repression, domestic intelligence, and that later integrated an uprising military group, constitutes an offence to the democratic system”, blasted Radical Lawmaker, Ricardo Alfonsín.
In addition, Ricardo Gil Lavedra, Ernesto Sanz and José Cano declared “He cannot be promoted, neither be in front of the Army command”.
Kirchnerite lawmakers had to pull back from this week’s confirmation session to promote Milani, since his name appeared listed in 1984 ‘Nunca más’ (‘Never More’) commission, accused of possible human rights violations, during his duty as an Intelligence officer.
The ruling Victory Front party decided to postpone the initiative for after the primaries elections on August. Cristina Fernandez said that for now Milani remains in his post as Army Chief.