Chile says it can handle its own human rights abusers
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- As former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto
Pinochet awaits a Spanish attempt to try him for human rights abuses
committed by his government, Chile said Saturday it would prefer to punish
its human rights violators itself.
Pinochet, who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, was arrested in London last
year on a Spanish warrant. He remains under house arrest in Britain pending
a decision on whether to extradite him to Spain.
An official Chilean report says 3,197 people disappeared or were killed
under Pinochet's regime. Spaniards were among the victims.
Chilean Foreign Minister Juan Gabriel Valdes did not mention Pinochet's
name in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday.
But he said the system of global justice is in "a phase in which the norms
jurisdiction are not clear and are subject to many different interpretations,
including the most arbitrary and misplaced."
The prosecution of human rights abusers in Chile had caused severe strains
in Chilean society, he said. He noted that other new democracies have
avoided such tensions by not prosecuting former abusers.
"In these circumstances, what grounds could the justice system of a third
state have for exercising jurisdiction in respect of acts which are currently the
subject of proceedings in the state in which those acts were committed?"
"In Chile, there is no denial of justice," he said. "We do not accept impunity
for violations of human rights."
On Thursday, Chile's Supreme Court upheld the indictments of two former
Pinochet security chiefs for the 1982 assassination of a dissident labor
One of the men is the highest-ranking retired officer tried so far for
rights violations under Pinochet's military dictatorship. He was a member of
the four-man military junta and chief of the dictatorship's feared secret