Human Rights groups in
“The Federal Criminal Court number 1 in
Julio Lopez, went missing exactly a year ago, on the eve of the land mark conviction of Miguel Etchecolatz, the first military officer to be sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity and genocide committed during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Lopez was last seen walking near his home in
Lopez's testimony of his detention as a political prisoner from 1976-1979 in clandestine detention centers was key in the conviction of Etchecolatz. Testifying before a court in
Since Lopez's disappearance, little headway has been made in the investigation of his whereabouts. Much of the evidence recently released has been tracked to the federal prison where Etchecolatz and another 100 military officers are imprisoned. Phone calls from the prison and note’s from Etchecolatz’s personal agenda lead to a clear trail that Lopez was under surveillance in the days leading up to his kidnapping.
At a press conference, Myriam Bergman, human rights lawyer handling the case of Lopez's disappearance, says she worries that much of the evidence has been filtered to protect the kidnappers. “A year has gone by since Julio was kidnapped and the disappearance of the comrade and there's still no one under investigation in the case. Human rights organizations have given the only serious tip offs being investigated. The investigators have waited months to investigate them. They allowed the suspects under investigation to know they were being investigated.”
Human rights groups are pointing to Etchecolatz and other military officers currently jailed in the V.I.P. Marcos Paz Federal prison while facing trial for human rights crimes. For Margarita Cruz, a torture survivor from the
In total, 256 former military personnel and members of the military government have been accused of human rights crimes and are now awaiting trial. But only three trials have been held since