Pinochet’s legacy: no dictator should have legal impunity
The legacy of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet should be a renewed fight against impunity for human rights violations.
AMSTERDAM, 11 December 2006. The legacy of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet should be a renewed fight against impunity for human rights violations, according to the Transnational Institute, whose former director Orlando Letelier was murdered by agents of the Pinochet regime in 1976.
"Pinochet’s death brings a premature end to the struggle to see him brought to justice for his crimes, but his name lives on in infamy," said Fiona Dove, director of the Transnational Institute (TNI). "His legacy should be that no ruler should have legal impunity for human rights abuses perpetrated under their watch."
On 21 September 1976, agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet detonated a car bomb in Washington DC that killed Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean cabinet minister who was TNI director at the time, along with Ronni Moffitt, a colleague from the Institute of Policy Studies.
The Letelier and Moffitt murders were among over 3,000 deaths and disappearances conducted by the Pinochet regime. Although Pinochet’s death deprives the victims of justice, the efforts of family members, lawyers, artists, activists, elected officials, journalists and others in Chile and internationally have ensured that the dictator’s name is now synonymous with the human rights violations committed during his rule.
Pinochet’s arrest in London in 1998 destroyed the illusion that ‘sovereign immunity’ could protect the dictator from accountability for his crimes. International human rights activism also helped galvanise the Chilean legal system, resulting in several cases against him.
Further details Fiona Dove, director + 31 20 662 66 08 Oscar Reyes, press officer +44 7739 827 208 Email: oscar [at] tni.org