Chile: Supreme Court continues to block investigations into past human rights violations: the Chanfreau case

The Third Chamber of the Supreme Court ruled on 30 October 1992 that judicial investigations into the “disappearance” in 1974 of Alfonso Chanfreau Oyarce should be transferred to the Second Military Court of Santiago. Military courts have closed virtually every case of “disappearance” or killing they have heard on the basis of the 1978 Amnesty Law. The court ruled that the case occurred during a “state of internal war”. Human rights groups, politicians and lawyers have expressed dismay at the ruling, which seems to contradict previous Supreme Court rulings. Three of the six judges were appointed during the dictatorship, one is the Army’s General Counsel and two were named by the present government. Four judges voted in favour of transferring the case; two voted against.

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