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Commentary: Court’s reasoning in Ford trial over abduction & torture of workers during Argentina military dictatorship

"The Ford Trial in Argentina, a Workers’ Victory", 1 Apr 2019

On March 15, an Argentine court issued its reasoning behind one of the most significant cases tried in recent years, in which three individuals were found guilty of crimes against humanity, including two former top executives of the car company Ford Motor Argentina. The full judgment considers that a central motive of the military and the corporation was to discipline workers and fight trade-union activity...

The so-called “Ford trial” began in 2002 and was postponed for years before its final oral proceedings took place between December 2017 and December 2018. The verdict announced by an Argentine court on December 11, 2018 was path-breaking as it sentenced not only Santiago Omar Riveros, a high-ranking military chief, but also Héctor Sibilla, the Ford Motor Argentina Chief of Security and Pedro Müller, the Production Manager of the Ford plant in Pacheco (a suburb of Greater Buenos Aires) to 15, 12 and 10 years in prison respectively. It found the three of them guilty of human rights violations perpetrated between 1976 and 1977 against 24 former Ford workers...

The judges also affirmed that it was proven with the same degree of certainty that there existed a logistical assistance, including through material resources (vehicles, food and gasoline), by Ford authorities and top officials to the Armed Forces who carried out the abductions. They also stated that the evidence showed that there was a contribution of the organizational structure and the territorial infrastructure on behalf of Ford authorities and top executives to the military in charge of the abductions...

On March 24, 2019, during the mass demonstration in Buenos Aires, the main speech recalled the need to find ways to prosecute not only individuals but corporations themselves...

 

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