The Argentine justice revokes the decision of Judge Servini to prosecute Martín Villa for crimes against humanity | Spain

Rodolfo Martín Villa, former Minister of the Interior, upon his departure in September 2020 from the Argentine Embassy in Madrid, after testifying before Judge María Servini.
Rodolfo Martín Villa, former Minister of the Interior, upon his departure in September 2020 from the Argentine Embassy in Madrid, after testifying before Judge María Servini.Juanjo Martin (EFE)

The Court of Appeals of Argentina has reversed this Thursday the decision of Judge María Servini de Cubria to prosecute Rodolfo Martín Villa, Minister of Trade Union Relations and Government (Interior) in the first governments after the death of dictator Francisco, for crimes against humanity Frank. According to legal sources, the appellate magistrates have heard the appeal of Martín Villa’s lawyers, understanding that from what has been investigated by Judge Servini so far there are no reasons to pursue the criminal case against him in the so-called “Argentine complaint” on Franco’s repression. There is an appeal against this resolution before the Argentine Supreme Court. If the complainant entities resort, Martín Villa, according to sources in his environment, will also appear.

Martín Villa was prosecuted last October for four police killings that occurred in the first years after Franco’s death and that were not duly tried in Spain. These events include the death of three workers by gunfire by the Armed Police on March 3, 1976 in Vitoria, the worst massacre caused by the forces of order in the Transition, and the death of another person shot dead by officers in the Sanfermines of Pamplona in 1978. Servini considered Martín Villa, “prima facie [a primera vista], perpetrator criminally responsible for the crime of aggravated homicide ”of these four victims of repression.

The appeal court considers that Judge Servini made a “mistake in the legal qualification” by considering Martín Villa “mediate perpetrator” of these crimes “due to the dominance of an organized power apparatus.” The Chamber rejects that these four deaths during the Transition constitute crimes against humanity, a legal qualification that Servini used to prosecute Martín Villa in application of the principle of universal justice.

One of the magistrates points out that the difficulty and magnitude of the judicial procedure “cannot be translated into relaxing evidentiary requirements that are unavoidable when it comes to adequately specifying the events and their regulatory framework in a crime against the rights of nations.” The Appeals Chamber also affirms that “the truth is that the existence of a power apparatus, at the full disposal of Villa who, by issuing orders (to the Police, in this case) allows him to be considered as the mediate perpetrator of the events investigated here ”.

The former minister of the first governments of the reign of Juan Carlos I has been subject to judicial proceedings in Argentina for seven years, since October 2014, and has always vindicated his innocence, even refusing to avail himself of the 1977 Amnesty Law. At least six times, in September 2020 he declared as a defendant by videoconference from the Argentine embassy in Madrid: “I have come to defend myself, because I rebel against living on the presumption of guilt instead of presumption of innocence, but above all to defend that it is It is impossible that in the Transition there was a genocide, ”he told Judge Servini at the time.

The 87-year-old former head of the security forces received the written endorsement of all former presidents of the democracy government and 15 other former political and union leaders. In their writings, all of them corroborated that the Leonese politician and businessman “always acted with a total commitment to defend the rule of law and reform the State security forces.” Former socialist president Felipe González affirmed that Martín Villa “was impeccable and [estuvo] strongly committed to the rule of law, its preservation and development ”; and expressed his “astonishment and disbelief” at his accusation.

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The decision of the Argentine court to revoke the prosecution of the former minister is in addition to the one that this court already adopted in July 2017, when it annulled the international arrest warrant that Servini had issued against Martín Villa and that prevented him from leaving Spain at risk of get arrested. The higher court then considered that the investigating judge did not take into account when charging her with crimes against humanity the “distinctive circumstances” of these events, the “time space” in which they occurred and “the context that surrounded them.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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