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EXTRA 84/92 - Chile: "disappearance" / legal concern: Alfonso Chanfreau Oyarce

, N° d'index: AMR 22/015/1992

On 22 October 1992, the Chilean Supreme Court will determine the fate of the investigations into the 1974 "disappearance" of Alfonso Chanfreau Oyarce, a 24-year-old philosophy student and leader of the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionario. If the case is transferred to the military courts, it is likely to be closed on the basis of the 1978 Amnesty Law, which has been used repeatedly by the military courts to block investigations into human rights violations. Amnesty International remains seriously concerned about the impunity of those responsible for human rights violations under the former military government and urges the Chilean authorities to ensure that investigations continue and those responsible are brought to justice

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 22/15/92
Distr: UA/SC
EXTRA 84/92 "Disappearance"/legal concern 21 October 1992
CHILE: Alfonso Chanfreau Oyarce
On 22 October 1992, the Chilean Supreme Court will determine the fate of the investigations
into the 1974 "disappearance" of Alfonso Chanfreau Oyarce by deciding whether the case
remains in the hands of a civilian court or whether it should be passed to military
jurisdiction. If transferred to the military courts, the case, as many before it, is likely
to be closed on the basis of the 1978 Amnesty Law. This law was originally intended to
apply to individuals charged with particular crimes following judicial investigation.
Instead, it has been repeatedly used by the military courts to block investigations into
human rights violations before the facts about the case have been established and criminal
responsibility determined.
Alfonso Chanfreau is one of at least 957 people who are known to have "disappeared" after
their abduction by members of the security forces. The 24-year-old philosophy student
and leader of the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionario, MIR (Movement of the Revolutionary
Left) was taken from his home on 30 July 1974 by members of the former security police,
the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional, DINA (Directorate of National Intelligence). His
wife, Erika Hennings, was arrested the following day and taken to a secret detention centre,
Londres 38. According to her testimony, she was taken into a room, where blindfolded,
she was obliged to listen to her husband being tortured. The couple saw each other a few
times in the following days. On 13 August 1974, Alfonso Chanfreau was among a group of
people taken out of the detention centre, and he remains "disappeared".
The investigations have become a test case for human rights campaigners in Chile and have
given hope to hundreds of families waiting for justice. Since the reopening of the case
in 1990, civilian Judge Gloria Olivares, whose wide-reaching investigations have been widely
praised, has interviewed several former agents of the DINA, the agency responsible for
most of the "disappearances" in the 1970s. She has interviewed a number former detainees
arrested and tortured by the DINA, who have given evidence about prisoners who subsequently
"disappeared" from the secret detention centres run by the security agency. A few weeks
ago, an arrest warrant was issued against a senior ex-DINA agent, Osvaldo Romo who has
been living in Brazil for many years and who witnesses have alleged was directly involved
in the abduction, torture and "disappearance" of detainees. Extradition orders are
currently pending against him.
There is little doubt that the evidence these former DINA agents could bring to the
investigations could clarify the fate and whereabouts of many of the "disappeared". Amnesty
International fears that if the military courts request for jurisdiction is granted by
the Supreme Court, this vital evidence will remain concealed and will signal the end of
numerous other investigations, thus depriving the relatives of their fundamental rights
to truth, justice and to recovering the remains of their loved ones.
Amnesty International urges the Chilean authorities to ensure that investigations to clarify
the fate of Alfonso Chanfreau Oyarce continue and that those responsible be brought to
justice. The organization remains seriously concerned about the impunity of those
responsible for human rights violations during the former military government and continues
to campaign for the full truth to be clarified and for all those responsible to be brought
to justice. Amnesty International believes that the 1978 amnesty law (Decree Law 2191),
which has been used to block full judicial investigations into abuses committed before
1978, should be repealed. The impunity which this law affords to those responsible for
the most serious of human rights violations can encourage the recurrence of such violations.
Page 2 of EXTRA 84/92
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes preferably in Spanish or in your
own language:
- expressing serious concern about the possible transferral to military jurisdiction of
investigations into the torture and "disappearance" of Alfonso Chanfreau Oyarce in the
context of the repeated failure of the military courts to investigate cases of human rights
violations and to bring those responsible to justice;
- expressing Amnesty International's concern about the impunity of those responsible for
human rights violations during the former military government and urging the government
to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice so that the full truth in cases
like that of Alfonso Chanfreau Oyarce can be revealed. Ask the government to repeal the
1978 Amnesty Law (Decree Law 2191) which has prevented and continues to obstruct full judicial
investigations into abuses committed before 1978.
APPEALS TO
1. President of the Republic of Chile:
Sr. Patricio Aylwin Azócar Salutation: Excelencia /
Presidente de la República de Chile Your Excellency
Palacio de la Moneda
Santiago, Chile
Telex: 240152 segrg cl
Faxes: + 56 2 697 3262
2. Minister of Justice:
Sr. Francisco Cumplido Salutation: Sr. Ministro /
Cereceda Dear Minister
Ministro de Justicia
Ministerio de Justicia
Morandé 107, Santiago, Chile
Telex: 242316 minju cl
Faxes: + 56 2 69 66 952
3. Human Rights Comission Chamber of Deputies:
Sr Jaime Naranjo Ortiz
Presidente Salutation: Estimado Sr. /
Comisión de Derechos Humanos Dear Sir
de la Cámara de Diputados
Edificio del Congreso, Valparaíso, Chile
Fax: + 56 32 230509
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
1. Supreme Court:
Sr. Presidente
Corte Suprema de Justicia
Plaza Montt Varas, Santiago, Chile
2. Association of Relatives of the "Disappeared":
Sres.
Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos
Plaza de Armas 444, Santiago, Chile
Fax: + 56 2 6981212
3. Daily newspaper:
Sr. Editor
El Mercurio
Av. Santa María 5542
Las Condes, Santiago, Chile
Fax: + 56 2 2289568
and to diplomatic representatives of Chile accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section
office, if sending appeals after 21 November 1992.

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