The New York Times
February 3, 2001

Mexico to Extradite an Argentine Accused of Genocide to Spain

          By TIM WEINER

          MEXICO CITY, 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.

          Ricardo Cavallo 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.

          Human rights 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.

          The government 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.