Argentina's Justice Ministry Friday admitted during an Inter-American Human Rights Court hearing in Montevideo that the State had “violated rights and was not able to ascertain the truth” in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish welfare association AMIA in Buenos Aires.
The National State acknowledged its international responsibility for the violations to the right to life, security and non-discrimination of the victims of the AMIA bombing and must pay compensations of around US$ 700,000.
Speaking on behalf of the Justice Ministry's AMIA Unit, Natalia D'Alessandro admitted that those who were in charge of public power: prosecutors, judges, security forces, intelligence agents and the Executive at that time made the decision to cover up the truth and twist the investigation, accusing innocent people and protecting people close to the government.
She admitted the worst institutional baseness since the return of democracy had been committed when car thief Carlos Telleldín was paid US$ 400,000 to falsely accuse a group of policemen of the attack.
The Ministry also admitted that the State was corrupt: it did not take adequate protection measures for the AMIA, it did not protect the victims against a specific risk they were running, and intelligence operatives did nothing with the information they received about Mohsen Rabbani, who was later charged in the AMIA case.
The official also held the State accountable for the violation of the rights to judicial protection and the guarantees of access to truth and justice, and assured that Argentina is responsible because the authorities did not seek to uncover the truth, but to protect people close to the power of the time.
After regretting the facts and praising the ethical coherence of Memoria Activa, the Justice Ministry recalled that the attack was a crime against humanity and, therefore, those responsible cannot hide behind the statute of limitations.
The Court will issue a sentence against Argentina in the coming months, including institutional obligations concerning the AMIA case; the functioning of justice and economic reparations, including compensation, expenses, travel, and legal fees, requested by the plaintiffs Memoria Activa and CELS and totaling some 700,000 dollars.
Colombian IAHRC Deputy Chief Justice Humberto Sierra Porto said he had complex feelings because the recognition of the State is harder than the allegation of the victims itself, it is a matter that has a dimension out of the ordinary.
The judge said that it is not enough for the State to recognize or to wait for the Court to tell it what to do, but that it is the State itself that must act. Only Argentines can reach agreements in a matter as sensitive as the judicial organization, he said.
Chief Justice Ricardo Pérez Manrique of Uruguay added that Argentina should not wait for the sentence to change what it claims.
CELS lawyer Paula Litvachky said that it was clear in this hearing that the State by itself was not capable of finding out the truth and that both with actions and negligence, it deprived everyone of the historical truth.
We are here for all the lives lost, for those who were forced to live with so much absence, and for the generations to come. We are here because we do not want to have to fight for 30 years to get what is rightfully ours, she added.