IPS Applauds British Ruling and Demands Strong US Sanction

IPS Press Release

24 March 1999
Institute for Policy Studies

Leaders of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) applauded the British Law Lords' decision today to deny immunity for Augusto Pinochet and allow extradition proceedings against the former Chilean dictator to go forward.

TNI and the Pinochet precedent

(Washington DC) Leaders of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) applauded the British Law Lords' decision today to deny immunity for Augusto Pinochet and allow extradition proceedings against the former Chilean dictator to go forward.

Given the positive outcome in England, it is more important than ever for the US government to take swift and strong action in support of the case against Pinochet, says IPS co-founder Marcus Raskin. For the sake of humanity, future generations must see that leaders cannot be given the privilege of committing murder and assassination with impunity. Raskin was a close associate of Chilean Orlando Letelier and US citizen Ronni Karpen Moffitt, IPS colleagues who were murdered at the hands of agents of Pinochet's regime in 1976. IPS has repeatedly demanded that the US government support the case in Spain charging Pinochet with crimes against humanity and also re-open the US investigation of Pinochet's responsibility for the assassination of Moffitt and Letelier.

IPS, along with many other human rights groups, has also urged the US government to disclose all documentary and other evidence available from US files regarding General Pinochet's responsibility for terrorist acts and human rights violations. According to a March 16 New York Times editorial, President Clinton has acted on these demands by ordering a sweeping declassification process involving the departments of State and Defense, the National Security Council, and the CIA.

We hope the shredding machines haven't been working overtime, says IPS Fellow Saul Landau. Since the US government helped put Pinochet in power, there may be that temptation among some officials. On the other hand, Clinton has said that his administration has 'zero tolerance' for terrorism. We are hopeful that by this he also means terrorism in Washington, DC, and that the Department of Justice will indict Pinochet and demand his extradition to the United States. Landau is the co-author (with John Dinges) of Assassination on Embassy Row, an investigation of the Letelier-Moffitt murders.

Since Pinochet's arrest, there has been a surge of efforts around the world to bring the former dictator and agents of his brutal regime to justice. Only this week, the Center for Justice and Accountability, based in Palo Alto, CA, filed a suit against another former Chilean military officer who was involved in the Letelier-Moffitt murders. Armando Fernandez-Larios, who confessed in the 1980s to having conducted surveillance on Letelier in preparation for the assassination, is the target of the lawsuit. Filed in US Federal District Court in Miami, the suit alleges that Fernandez-Larios tortured and executed an advisor to Salvador Allende, the democratically elected President who died in Pinochet's bloody 1973 coup. The case is based on the Alien Torture Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act, which provides jurisdiction in US courts for human rights violations committed overseas. According to Landau, This suit is one of the many signs that the Pinochet case has changed international law forever. Human rights are now global and many people who have violated these rights are going to be nervous about travelling.