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British court hears appeal on Pin
- Subject: British court hears appeal on Pin
- From: suriya@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 23:43:00
Subject: British court hears appeal on Pinochet extradition
British court hears appeal on
International law should
supersede English law,
Human rights attorney allowed to
New pushes for extradition in
Related stories and sites
LONDON (CNN) -- Lawyers pushing
for the extradition of former Chilean dictator Augusto
Pinochet told a British
appeals panel Thursday that international laws proscribing
humanity should supercede an English law protecting heads of
A five-judge panel, selected from among the House of Lords,
heard a second
day of arguments Thursday in an appeal of an October 28
decision by a lower
court that quashed an extradition request for Pinochet from
a Spanish magistrate.
A decision isn't expected until at least next week.
The former Chilean leader, arrested last month in London
after undergoing spinal
surgery, has been released from detention but was ordered to
remain in Britain
until the case is decided.
Human rights attorney
allowed to argue
In an unusual move, the panel
lords," which serves as the
for England and Wales, agreed
to let a
human rights lawyer argue for
Ian Brownlie represents Amnesty
International as well as Sheila
British doctor allegedly
tortured in Chile
during Pinochet's rule, and two
William Beausire, a Briton who vanished in Chile in 1975.
"English public policy is clearly against recognizing
immunity for ... the torturous
causing of deaths," Brownlie said. He called the Spanish
extradition warrant "a
hopeful opening in the wall of impunity" surrounding the
Normally, only lawyers from the two opposing sides are
allowed to argue a case
before the House of Lords. But the judges allowed Brownlie
to intervene after
lawyers representing the Spanish government and British
finished their arguments.
On Monday, Pinochet's lawyers will begin arguing their case.
Lawyers pushing the case for Pinochet's extradition argued
that the crimes of
which Pinochet is accused -- genocide, torture and terrorism
-- were well
established as international crimes prior to his assumption
of power in a 1973
They also argued that because Britain is a signatory to
those international laws should take precedence over
England's 1978 State
Immunity Act, which the lower court said protected Pinochet
for his actions as a head of state.
The lawyers also argued that some of the crimes for which
Pinochet is being
sought in Spain took place before he declared himself head
of state and before
changes in the Chilean constitution designated him as the
country's official ruler.
New pushes for extradition
in France, Germany
Pinochet's Spanish accusers charge that
as leader of the Chilean armed forces
and head of the government from 1973
to 1990, he gave orders to eliminate,
torture and kidnap thousands of political
opponents, including a number of
In the wake of his arrest in London,
other legal moves have been made
against Pinochet by alleged victims of his
rule in France, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium
Lawyers for three French citizens who disappeared in Chile
during the Pinochet
years have sent a letter to French Justice Minister
Elisabeth Guigou, asking that
the government push for Pinochet's arrest in the event that
he is freed in England
and stops in any other countries on his way back to Chile.
In Germany, four more complaints were filed against Pinochet
on Thursday, in
an attempt to pressure Germany to demand his extradition.
There are now seven
complaints in German courts, representing a total of nine
Eight of the nine were Chilean citizens at the time they
allegedly became victims
of human rights abuses by the Pinochet junta. All have since
citizenship. The ninth person was a German citizen living in
Chile during the
Correspondent Richard Blystone and Reuters contributed to
Spain judge submits Pinochet extradition bid - November
Prosecutors to appeal Pinochet ruling - November 2, 1998
Pinochet reportedly invited to London by defense
ministry - October 31,
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
Amnesty International on-line
U.K./Chile: Pinochet -- The absence of immunity
for crimes against
humanity . . .
U.K./Chile: the inescapable obligation of the
. . .
Houses of Parliament Home Page
House of Lords home page
International Law Association
Chile Information Project: News
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