Buenos Aires and Montevideo- February 7, 2013- Next week on February 13th at 9am, the Gelman vs. Uruguay case, litigated by the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), will have a private hearing before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights at their headquarters in Costa Rica. The hearing will be held to evaluate Uruguay’s compliance with the ruling and reparations dictated by the Court on February 24, 2011.
The Court’s judgment condemned Uruguay for the forced disappearance in 1976 of María Claudia García Iruretagoyena de Gelman and the birth of her daughter Macarena Gelman while in captivity. These events occurred during Uruguay’s military dictatorship within the context of Operation Condor, a repressive cooperation agreement between the dictators of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. As a signatory of the American Convention on Human Rights and other treaties, Uruguay must fully adhere to the Court´s binding decisions.
On behalf of the Uruguayan state on March 21, 2012, the President of Uruguay José Mujica publically acknowledged the state’s responsibility for the abovementioned crimes in accordance with the Court’s judgment. The state also recognized that the Law on the Expiration of the Punitive Claims of the State (Expiry Law) was an obstacle to justice.
The same day, a plaque was unveiled commemorating María Claudia and the victims of state terrorism that were illegally detained. The plaque is housed in the Centro de Altos Estudios Nacionales (CALEN) (Center for Higher National Studies) a branch of the ministry of defense, a military institution that once functioned as a clandestine detention center during the dictatorship.
The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the organization that represented Macarena and Juan Gelman in litigation before the Court, recognizes the importance of the State’s public acknowledgment of the crimes committed. However, as stated by Viviana Krsticevic Executive Director of CEJIL, “in order to attain the full truth and justice for the victims, Uruguay must fully comply with all aspects of the Court’s ruling. The state must bring to light the location of María Claudia and condemn those responsible for this and other crimes against humanity committed during Uruguay’s dictatorship that remain unpunished. Almost 40 years have passed since the crimes were committed.”