Mexico to Extradite an Argentine Accused of Genocide to Spain
By TIM WEINER
Feb. 2 — Mexico decided today to extradite a
former Argentine Navy officer, accused of abuses committed
under Argentina's dictatorship 20 years ago, to face charges in Madrid.
will be handed over to the Spanish Embassy to face
charges of genocide, torture and terrorism against Spaniards, Mexico's
Foreign Ministry said in a news release. The decision by Foreign Minister
Jorge G. Casteñeda follows a Mexican judge's ruling last month that Mr.
Cavallo could be extradited.
experts said that never before had a person accused of
crimes against humanity been sought for trial in a second nation and
extradited by a third. The decision, they said, establishes the principle
that human rights laws transcend national borders.
Mr. Cavallo ran
Mexico's national motor vehicle registry until he was
arrested in Cancún in August. Days before, he was publicly identified
through survivors' testimony as a military officer who helped run a torture
chamber under Argentina's military junta, which jailed and killed tens of
thousands of people between 1976 and 1983.
The arrest warrant
was signed by the same Spanish judge, Baltasar
Garzón, who last year asked Britain to extradite Gen. Augusto Pinochet,
the former dictator of Chile. The British government declined. General
Pinochet now has been indicted by a Chilean judge on charges of
homicide and kidnapping.
of Argentina, which has imposed a sweeping amnesty
protecting the junta's soldiers from prosecution, argued against the
extradition of Mr. Cavallo. It said that under the principle of territoriality,
no one should be tried abroad for crimes in his native land.