The promoters of the so-called Argentine Complaint continue their fight to put former Minister Rodolfo Martín Villa on the bench for crimes against humanity committed during the Transition. The Federal Criminal Cassation Chamber met this Thursday by videoconference to listen to the parties in the framework of the appeal filed by the plaintiffs against the decision made last December. Then, the court revoked the prosecution of the former minister that Judge María Servini had launched for the death of several people between 1976 and 1978.
Argentine judge Servini prosecutes former minister Martín Villa for four homicides that occurred in 1976 and 1978
Martín Villa resorted to the prosecution at the time and Cassación agreed with him, to which the promoters of the complaint, grouped in the State Coordinator of support for the Argentine Complaint against crimes of the Franco regime (CeAqua), they also responded by appealing. Eight months later, the plaintiffs’ lawyers and the defense of the former minister have intervened to present their arguments.
The first ones demand his prosecution considering that the ruling issued by the court that rejected him is “arbitrary” because “it requires a plus of justification that is amply proven in the file”, lawyer Eduardo Fachal said at the hearing. The plaintiffs agree with the qualification initially made by Judge Servini, later revoked by Cassation, and that she attributed to Martín Villa four crimes of aggravated homicide in a context of crimes against humanity.
They were the murders of Pedro María Martínez Ocio, Romualdo Barroso Chaparro, Francisco Aznar Clemente, assassinated during the Vitoria massacre on March 3, 1976 as a result of the attack by the Armed Police, who gassed and shot demonstrators, killing a total of five people. And that of Germán Rodríguez Saíz, murdered in the events of the Sanfermines in Pamplona in July 1978, when the security forces charged after the display of a banner in favor of total amnesty. Rodríguez Saíz was shot in the forehead.
Both his brother Fermín Rodríguez and Andoni Txasko, a member of the Víctimas 3 de Marzo association, were present at the hearing as plaintiffs. “That Martín Villa is prosecuted is something that we have always been pursuing and it has been impossible in the Spanish state. The objective is to break all the impunity that exists here in Argentina, but it is a shame that you have to go abroad when there is evidence, ”says the second, who the day after the events in Vitoria, in the same area, received a beating for part of law enforcement officers and lost almost all of his vision.
“Widespread and systematic attack”
The lawyers behind the lawsuit have argued that during those years there was a “widespread and systematic attack directed against the civilian population, giving rise to a political element derived from a State policy,” in the words of another lawyer, Luis María Calcagno. The complainants defend, as did Servini, that Martín Villa, as Minister of Trade Union Relations first and then of the Interior, held “a preponderant position in that organized structure of power through which the orders were spread to those who were the direct executors.” of crimes”.
However, the Federal Chamber of Criminal Cassation decided to stop the prosecution, assuring that it cannot be affirmed that they were crimes against humanity and appealing to the “lack of merit”. “This means that the court declares that it is necessary to deepen the investigation,” explains Jacinto Lara, CeAqua’s lawyer.
For his part, the lawyer who defends Martín Villa, Fernando Goldaracena, has demanded that the order by which the prosecution is stopped be firm and has assured that “there is no evidence to prove that alleged systematic plan of attack on the civilian population ” nor “the alleged immediate authorship that they foist” on the former minister “because of his supposed position in the Government.”
Now, once the hearing is held this Thursday, the court must decide in a few months by written resolution whether or not to prosecute the former minister for the aforementioned crimes. “It would be the first time that someone is prosecuted for Francoist crimes, unlike what happens in Spain, where they file all the complaints that are presented to us. The prosecution of him would generate an extraordinary judicial event in relation to the Francoist crimes and a decisive procedural impulse, ”says Lara.
In any case, even if Martín Villa is not finally prosecuted in this process, he will continue to be charged in the Argentine complaint for a total of 12 homicides perpetrated during the Transition for which Servini has ruled “lack of merit.” That is, he considers that more research is needed.