SANTIAGO – One of the soldiers convicted of the murder of Víctor Jara has filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court, questioning the legal basis of the laws used to try his case. According to the soldier, he was sentenced for a crime committed before the law used to convict him came into force.
Edwin Dimter Bianchi, one of the former military officers convicted for his role in the kidnapping and murder of famous folksinger Víctor Jara, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping and killing. The Court of Appeal in Santiago convicted him following the Nuremberg Charter for crimes against humanity.
On May 3, Dimter appealed the sentence, calling it unconstitutional that the Nuremberg Charter was used in his case. The Nuremberg Charter states that crimes against humanity are imprescriptible, but the charter only came into force in Chile in 2009, and Dimter’s crimes were committed during the dictatorship some 40 years earlier.
The Nuremberg Charter, drawn up by the International Military Tribunal of Nuremberg on August 8, 1945 after World War II, in order to convict war criminals, was the first internationally recognized instrument that spoke specifically of crimes against humanity.
“Curious That Chile Questions The Nuremberg Tribunal”
The fact the Constitutional Court processed the appeal was called curious, according to the former agent of Chile before the Court of The Hague, Alberto van Klaveren told Cooperativa.
“It is curious that after so many years a country like Chile questions the Nuremberg Charter.”
“The imprescriptibility of crimes against humanity is not only recorded in the charter of this tribunal, but also in a convention of the United Nations that is internationally recognized, also by Chilean courts.”
The appeal is expected to be reviewed next week by the Constitutional Court, where they will decide whether they accept it for further processing. If they do accept it, it could mean a major moment in the cases of earlier war criminals, also convicted for crimes against humanity based upon the Nuremberg Charter.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and made appearances on BBC World Services and ABC News during major events in Chile.