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Chile Rights Cases

August 21, 1993

* In reference to your editorial of Aug. 11, "Chile: Face History Honestly," I would like to make the following commentaries:

1. It is not accurate to say that there has never been an open inquiry into the human rights violations cases that occurred in Chile during the Pinochet government. The present administration, within the limitations imposed by the legal and constitutional framework developed under the Pinochet years (basically the Amnesty Law of 1987, which the government cannot abrogate or amend since it does not have the parliamentary majority to do it), has carried out different efforts to clear those violations, to identify responsibilities and to compensate the families of the victims. In effect one of the first decisions of the Aylwin government was to constitute what was known as the National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation. The purpose of this body was to prepare a report on the worst human right violations that occurred during the dictatorship, to single out the victims and to recommend measures of compensation for their families.

In 1991, based on the findings of this commission, President Patricio Aylwin took two initiatives: He sent to Congress a bill to grant indemnification to the families of the victims and sent the report to the Supreme Court of Justice, representing the need for the courts to activate the corresponding judicial investigations.

2. President Aylwin did not propose to form a Commission of Government and Military representatives to study the cases of those missing. What the president did do to try to speed up the solution to the most serious cases of human rights violations, after consulting with many sectors involved in this issue, among them the armed forces and the associations of families of the tortured and dead, was to present to Congress a bill in which he proposed that all the ministers of the Courts of Appeals be assigned full time to investigate the cases of human rights violations still pending.

Unfortunately, it is true that many of the investigations have not given the results that the government expected, but this new initiative reiterates the will of the president to keep doing everything that is feasible to establish the truth of the human right violations in Chile and to bring to justice the guilty ones.

RICARDO CONCHA

Consul General of Chile

Los Angeles

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