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[News] Ex-Uruguay dictator faces additional charges


CNN story:

--- Quote ---Ex-Uruguay dictator faces additional charges

Former Uruguay President Juan Maria Bordaberry leaves a Montevideo court in June 2005.

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- Former President-turned-dictator Juan Maria Bordaberry, arrested last month in connection with four "dirty war" killings in 1976, has been charged with 10 counts of homicide as Uruguay attempts to address rights abuses during his dictatorship.

Bordaberry, 78, and his former foreign minister, Juan Blanco, were jailed November 18 in connection with the deaths during his rule, which was marked by clandestine killings, torture and the exile of thousands of political dissidents.

Judge Graciela Gatti said Wednesday that Bordaberry was charged with 10 counts of aggravated homicide but did not provide any further details.

She said an investigating judge, Roberto Timbal, declined a recommendation from prosecutors to charge Bordaberry with violating the constitution by supporting a 1973 military coup.

Elected in 1971, Bordaberry dissolved Congress and banned political parties the following year at the behest of military leaders who seized power outright in 1973. The military ousted him in 1976, and Uruguay remained under a right-wing dictatorship until 1985.

Both Bordaberry and Blanco are being held pending prosecution on warrants ordered by Timbal, who is investigating the abductions and killings of two former lawmakers and two leftist rebels in May 1976 that shocked Uruguay in the early throes of its long military dictatorship.

Leftist Sen. Zelmar Michelini and House leader Hector Gutierrez, two prominent lawmakers who tried to flee Uruguay, were seized from their homes in exile in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their bullet-riddled bodies were found days later, along with those of the suspected guerrillas William Whitelaw and Rosario Barredo.

The arrest of the two former officials of the de facto government come after President Tabare Vazquez, Uruguay's first leftist leader, took office last year promising to make human rights a priority.

In May, eight former military and police officials were detained in an inquiry of the slayings of two leftist militants in 1976. That came after months of excavation work by forensic anthropologists who -- urged on by the government -- uncovered skeletal remains of two missing communist militants from the mid-'70s.

Vazquez is expected to release a report on June 19 on the government's efforts to resolve human rights cases of the past military rule.

Human rights groups have long contended that the 1976 killings of the two lawmakers and two guerrillas were the result of secret cooperation by military dictatorships in Argentina and Uruguay.

Under the plan known as Operation Condor, authoritarian governments that dominated South America during much of the second half of the 20th century worked together to crack down on rebels and political dissidents, resulting in the death and disappearance of unknown thousands.

Vazquez has refused comment on the detentions.

--- End quote ---

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy...

Kyle Aaron:
Now, if only we could arrest them when they take power, or even better, before. Rather than just cleaning up the mess decades later...

It'd be nice if once, just once, some General or Colonel would sit his men down to plot a coup d'etat, and they'd say, "No."

Well, okay, it happened once in France under Degaulle... the officers told the men to march, they said, "no." The officers ended up at the firing squad. That really should happen more often.


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