Eugenio Guanabens Perello

28.04.2016 ( Last modified: 09.06.2016 )
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facts

Eugenio Guanabens Perello was born on 1 January 1926 in Barcelona (Spain). He is the son of Isamel and Catalina Perello. He is married and retired from the Army.

From 11 September 1976 to 9 December 1977, he was the director of the General Lemos Combat Support Services School. He was in charge of the area 470 – General Sarmiento – which corresponds to the Defence IV Area. In December 1977, he was promoted to “General de Brigada”. The General Lemos School served as a training institute for the future high-level and low-level employees of the Army.

Guanabens Perelló was accused of crimes against humanity committed at Campo de Mayo (the main clandestine detention centre in Buenos Aires during the dictatorship), including those committed against two political opponents: Mario Luis Peretti and Pablo Alberto Albarracin.

It has been argued that Mario Luis Peretti (case n° 130 of the cause n° 4012) was deprived of his liberty on 7 June 1977 in the locality of San Miguel, urban district General Sarmiento, Region of Buenos Aires, by an armed group which came under the control of the Argentinean Army. He would have been then transferred to the clandestine detention centre known as “La Casita”, located in the military garrison in Campo de Mayo until 13 July 1977, where he suffered torture and inhuman treatments. Peretti was then moved to the Police Station General Sarmiento n°2 – also known as Bella Vista – which came then under the effective control of the military forces and under the Defence IV Area command until 27 July 1977 (place which then has come under the control of other authorities which were not the jurisdiction of Perello anymore.) He was released the 17 November 1977.

The illegal detention of Pablo Alberto Albarracin (cas n°14 of the cause n°2043) would have occurred, according to the Prosecution, on 13 April 1977 in the General Lemos Combat Support Services School, inside the military garrison of Campo de Mayo, while Albarracin was doing his compulsory military service. He went missing since then.

Eugenio Guanabens Perello was indicted of illegal deprivation of liberty, twice aggravated by the use of violence and threats and for the duration of the detention (more than one month), and of infliction of torture aggravated to be meant as a political persecution.

In 2006, the Prosecutor asked for the detention of Eugenio Guanabens Perello, Luis Alberto Sarmiento, Lorenzo Montiel and Aldo Roberto Arenaz and indicted them for illegal deprivation of liberty and torture.

legal procedure

FIRST TRIAL

In 2006, the Prosecutor asked for the detention of Eugenio Guanabens Perello, Luis Alberto Sarmiento, Lorenzo Montiel and Aldo Roberto Arenaz and indicted them for illegal deprivation of liberty and torture.

The Prosecutor repeated it in 2007 for Perello, Sarmiento and Arenaz. In February and July 2008, the Prosecutor issued again the indictments.

The Argentinean justice then issued a house arrest against Perello that he fulfilled, until the end of the trial in Buenos Aires.

Perello was ordered to appear in Court on 2 November 2009 before the Federal Oral Tribunal n°1 in San Martin. Eight other political and military leaders (Reynaldo Bignone, Santiago Riveros, Fernando Verplaetsen, Jorge Osvaldo García, Eugenio Guañabens Perello, Carlos Tepedino, Eduardo Espósito and Germán Montenegro) accused of illegal detentions, infliction of torture and inhuman treatments committed against 56 persons from 1976 to 1978, in the secret centre of detention at Campo de Mayo were also being tried. Those crimes correspond to the enforced disappearances. As no bodies were found, the defendants couldn’t be accused of murder. Therefore, they couldn’t be sentenced to life imprisonment.

More than 100 people have testified before the Tribunal. The sentences suggested against Guanabens Perello varied according to each plaintiff: 12 years required by the Public Prosecution; 20 years required by the Human Rights Secretary Office of the Nation; 42 years required by the former disappeared prisoners Association. However, each plaintiff asked the Tribunal to regard the alleged crimes as crimes of genocide pursuant to article 2 of the Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide.

On 20 April 2010, the Federal Oral Tribunal n°1 of San Martin sentenced Guanbens Perello to 17 years of imprisonment for crimes against humanity committed in Campo de Mayo during the last dictatorship. It should be noted that none of the accused persons attended the hearing.

Eugenio Guanabens Perello was convicted on the basis of two counts:

– illegal deprivation of liberty twice aggravated by use of violence and threats, and by the duration of the detention which have lasted more than one month (art. 144 bis inc. 1 and the last paragraph; art. 142 inc. 1° and 5°, pursuant to law 14.616).
– torture aggravated by the political opponent position of the victims Peretti and Albarracin (art. 144 ter, first and second paragraph of the criminal code, pursuant to law 14.616).

The Tribunal has declared those crimes, crimes against humanity. The judges determined that the sentenced should be served in a federal penal institution by the common rules of prison, revoking the house arrest.

TRIAL FOR CAMPO DE MAYO

On 12 March 2013, Guanabens Perello was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment by the Federal Criminal Oral Tribunal No. 1 of San Martin for crimes against humanity committed during the dictatorship in Campo de Mayo against 20 victims.

The tribunal also sentenced Reynaldo Benito Antonio Bignone, Santiago Omar Riveros, Luis Sadi Pepa, Eduardo Oscar Corrado et Carlos Tomás Macedra. to life imprisonment Carlos José Somoza was sentenced to 25 years in prison, Hugo Castagno Monge and Julio San Román to 20 years, Carlos del Señor Hidalgo Garzón to 15 years and María Francisca Morillo to 12 years.

TRIAL OF “PLAN CONDOR”

On 5 March 2013, the « Plan Condor » trial started in which 25 accused, included Guanabens Perello would be judged for crimes against humanity committed during last dictatorship.

spotlight

The Eugenio Guanabens Perello trial is part of a wider process of prosecutions of former military and political heads for crimes committed during the dictatorship (1976-1983). Trials have followed the Supreme Court decision which overruled the acts of amnesty so-called “Punto Final” and “Obedencia Debida” in June 2005, supported by the former president of the Republic of Argentina Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007).

context

In December 1986, the Argentinean Parliament adopted a law called “final point,” which set a statute of limitation of 60 days for offences against international law committed in Argentina.

In May 1987, Parliament approved a second amnesty law called “due obedience,” which exempted from trial all military subordinates who had obeyed orders. This left only about thirty high-ranked military officers to face prosecution. The only crimes not covered by this law – and for which subordinates could still be tried – was theft, rape and the kidnapping of children. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of this law in June 1987.

By December 1990 the first amnesty decrees were signed.

In all, 1195 members of the military who had participated in the junta received amnesty: 730 because of the “final point” law, 379 with the “due obedience” law, 49 declared by the Supreme Court and 42 by amnesty decrees.

In mid-August 2003, the new Argentinean president, Nestor Kirchner, had the amnesty laws repealed and the absence of statutes of limitation for crimes against humanity recognized.

Prosecutions of those involved in the junta once again became possible in Argentina.

Twenty former military personnel are being held in Argentina for crimes committed within the framework of the “Condor” plan. The total number of soldiers in detention and charged under Argentinean law for human rights violations amounts to 120 – to which should be added two Argentineans held in Spain. Some of these proceedings concern cases where children were forcibly taken away at birth from their mothers who had been imprisoned for political reasons. In the opinion of the judges, the amnesty law never covered this crime. (Source: Le Monde, January 5, 2005).

On 14 June 2005, the Argentinean Supreme Court declared the Amnesty Law unconstitutional, by 7 votes in favour, 1 against and 1 abstention,– “Ley de Punto Final”; Ley 23.492- and the Due Obedience Law – “Ley de Obediencia debida”; Ley 23.521- sanctioned by President Alfonsin in 1987. The Court maintained that these laws violated article 75, paragraph 22 of the 1994 Argentinean Constitution, which gives constitutional status to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to the Genocide Convention, to the Torture Convention and to the Inter-American Convention, among others. According to the Court, following diverse decisions by the Inter-American Court and by other international bodies, the State has an obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish those who have committed violations of the right to life, to humane treatment or those who have engaged in disappearances, an obligation which cannot be limited or abolished by the enactment of an Amnesty or Due Obedience Laws as ruled by the Inter-American Court in the case of Barrios Altos v. Peru.

This historical decision allows the domestic or international investigation, prosecution and punishment of members of the military suspected to have taken part in the torture, disappearance and/or killings of more than 30,000 persons in Argentina between 1976 and 1983.

On 20 September 2006, during the course of the trial of Miguel Etchecolatz, the court for the town of La Plata used the term “genocide” for the crimes committed by the military dictatorship (1976-1983). It was the first time these crimes were qualified as genocide by a court, just like human rights organisations had long argued they should be. This legal qualification is now contained in the judgment against former police officer Etchecolatz, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for torture, murder and abduction of opponents of the regime.

The court emphasised that the crimes were committed in the context of a genocide campaign organised by the state. For future procedures against former members of the police force and the military, this view could be of crucial importance.