Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Prosecutors Stumble In Ecuador’s First Truth Commission Trials

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Article from NotiSur, April 18

Relatives of human rights victims have been disappointed by initial efforts to pursue the perpetrators of crimes documented in clear detail by the government’s Comisión de la Verdad (truth commission), which was formed seven years ago and, in 2010, released a comprehensive report regarding state-sponsored rights abuses committed between 1984 and 2008. Proceedings in one of the cases have been stalled because two of the defendants fled the country. Another case fell apart because prosecutors failed to collect sufficient evidence--a recurring problem with the various truth-commission crimes, some of which took place decades ago. State prosecutors aren’t even looking into a number of human rights cases, according to groups like Fuerza del Mar, which represents family members of people allegedly killed by US military personnel operating between 1999 and 2009 in the Pacific port city of Manta. Luis Ángel Saavedra Read More

LADB Perspective - The state-sponsored violence that plagued much of Latin America in the 20th century continues to create political and social impasses well into the present. This week in NotiSur, both articles, one focusing on Argentina, the other on Ecuador, look at how contemporary societies are dealing with the violence of the past. Since re-emerging as a democratic state in 1983, Argentina has been a vocal supporter of prosecuting human rights abusers during its own “military-civil” government of the 1970s and 1980s. In addition to death squad leaders, torturers, and military commanders, Argentina is now seeking to put judges, bankers, and media owners that were in collusion with the junta on trial as well. Recently, Ecuador has just begun its own respective trials against state-sponsored rights abuses committed between 1984 and 2008. However, the inexperience of Ecuador’s prosecutors is obvious – two of the defendants fled the country and poor, insufficient evidence was a recurring problem.
These trials also highlight differing opinions. On one hand, victims and victim’s families seek truth, justice, and compensation for the illegal violence perpetrated against them. They seek to put the guilty parties on trial and break the pattern of amnesty given to many perpetrators of violence. On the other hand, however, are the younger generations with little or no memories of the violence of the 20th century, who desire to spend precious resources on moving forward and developing the future. Are these to views exclusive to each other? Or is there a way to find justice in the past while still looking to the future? - Joe Leestma

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