(By Guillermo Lipis) The megacause ESMA helped to sustain “the collective memory to prevent these events from happening again, and to promote the protection of human rights, essential to think about a free and democratic society,” said Judge Sergio Torres, who Together with the lawyer Cecilia Brizzio he wrote the book “ESMA. The judicial investigation”.
Edited by Eudeba, it is a chronicle of the judicial investigation of the ESMA case, which Torres carried out while he was in charge of Federal Court No. 12, which clarified “the very serious human rights violations” committed in that clandestine center of detention, Estela de Carlotto highlighted in the prologue.
For the Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, who wrote a presentation for the volume, Torres and Brizzio’s work registers “marks that the survivors of the dictatorship cannot forget.”
The book “ESMA. The judicial investigation” is a photograph of the cold and foggy nights that society suffered during the civic-military dictatorship; It is a panoptic view of what happened at the former ESMA and how the security forces operated, the flights of death and the long and painful path of the judicial apparatus to build Memory, Truth and Justice.
Torres, who in May 2019 was sworn in as judge of the Buenos Aires Supreme Court of Justice, stressed that “it is essential to point out that there was no revenge, not even when the impunity laws were in force.”
“Argentina chose Justice as a mechanism to face the atrocities that occurred in the last civic-military dictatorship,” he remarked at the presentation of the book at the ESMA Memory Site Museum.
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And he recalled that “these trials could and can only occur with the common work of civil society organizations, especially human rights organizations, together with the powers of the State and the indispensable contribution of the testimony of the victims.”
When referring specifically to the book, already available in bookstores, Torres defined it as “the chronicle of the judicial investigation of the ESMA case between 2003 and May 30, 2019, and the proof that it is possible to face the consequences of a massacre with the pre-existing tools of a wounded state. “
Torres and Brizzio captured 16 years of judicial work and in 12 chapters they detailed the development of the investigation into the events that occurred in the detention, torture and extermination center that operated in the officers’ casino of the Navy Mechanics School, where they were It is estimated that there were 5,000 victims of State terrorism, most of whom are still missing.
-Télam: What changed in your personal and professional life from the ESMA megacause?
-Sergio Torres: The way of looking at reality, the past and the present of society. Also the way to analyze, in the future, my role in judicial dynamics. Nothing could have prepared us beyond the professional and academic training that all the employees and officials of the court had, to process a case of this nature, size and complexity. At all times the obligation to look at a social conflict from the forensic practice prevailed, which merited the application of a strategy of macro implications, which until now had not been considered in any other judicial case at the investigation stage. Without a doubt, it marked my career. It was a task that I developed almost every year that I was assigned to be a federal judge; a work that challenged me to innovate and decide with a comprehensive view to assume a new logic in the projection of a monumental work.
-T: In the book, French and Spanish are mentioned as the doctrines for repression that served as antecedents for the actions of the Argentine dictatorship. Did the death flights also have concrete antecedents in international repressive history?
-ST: We have no news of the use of this mechanism within an extermination plan in the systematic way in which it was used in Argentina.
-T: You considered that the trials for crimes against humanity were carried out with the pre-existing tools of a wounded State. Are we still wounded? What significant changes do you think have occurred in the Justice since the beginning of this struggle to recover human rights?
-ST: Although no process is sufficient to eradicate a deep wound, it is a skillful tool to alleviate it, it is part of a healing path. Regarding the changes that took place in the Justice, I believe that absolute awareness and an inalienable commitment were taken regarding the need and relevance of carrying out these processes by arbitrating the existing mechanisms and innovating to move forward. This commitment was assumed by all the powers of the State, providing transparency in the judicial task to ensure that society could access the knowledge and development of the trials. In this way, we cement the collective memory with the aim of preventing these events from occurring again and promoting the protection of human rights, which are essential for creating a free and democratic society.
-T: In this same subject, can you mention at least two pending subjects?
-ST: That the development of all the processes started and those to be started be deepened, to finally provide an effective response to the families and victims of State terrorism.
-T: If Argentina differed from other countries in the way it processed the tragedy of the dictatorship, how can it be explained that there are political spaces that insist on positions contrary to this type of Justice and that some claims of pardons remain in the face of such use of the law? politics and disappearances?
-ST: Argentina, as a society, chose Justice as a mechanism to face what had happened. That choice was maintained for decades beyond the advances and setbacks that have occurred over the years. The vast majority of the country supports these Justice processes.
-T: Imagine yourself on the top of a hill looking on the horizon what you still have to walk with. What would you like to find in the field of justice?
-ST: In my judicial career, it was a great pride for me to have been the head of the Court in which this investigation of the ESMA case was settled. And it always will be, because I think that from that place I contributed my grain of sand to give back to society some of the sense of Justice that it demanded.
Undoubtedly, my time in the ESMA cause taught me to raise my gaze and reading of social problems, all of which allows me today to face the honorable task of integrating the Supreme Court of Justice of the Province of Buenos Aires with overcoming tools . I remain willing to face any task that these guidelines have in mind and that are a challenge to provide society with the justice service it deserves. (Télam)
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The ESMA megacause helped promote collective memory, highlighted Judge Torres