Last Military President
Retired Division General Reynaldo Benito Bignone became the last military president of Argentina on July 1, 1982. He succeeded Leopoldo Galtieri, who had to give up the presidency after his defeat on the Malvinas war.
As president of Argentina, Bignone engaged in the deliberate destruction of evidence about the human rights violations committed by the military. In this vein, he issued the confidential decree 2726/83 ordering the destruction of all documents about the disappeared. He was indicted for this crime, but was pardoned by President Menem.
Bignone was also responsible for signing the so-called "self amnesty" law, which released all members of the armed forces of responsability for crimes committed "in the war against subversion". The law was later annulled by the democratically elected Congress.
Bignone's criminal career, however, started much before. On March 28, 1976, he lead an operation to the Alejandro Posadas Hospital which concluded with the "disappearance" of 40 people, the dismissal of the rest of the hospital staff, and the conversion of the hospital into a concentration camp. Bignone later became in charge of the Campos de Mayo concentration camp. A man who had been disappeared there remembers him admitting how "in the dirty war there were innocents who paid for the guilty". Bignone is currently under indictement for his role in the kidnapping of children born to disappeared women in Campo de Mayo. The children were taken away from their mothers and given to families close to the military. In January 1999 he was arrested on charges of child kidnapping; he is currently in home detention due to his age.
Bignone was also accused of seven illegal kidnappings and three cases of torture. He was jailed in 1984 for "disappearing" two conscripts, Luis Daniel García and Luis Steimberg, but was freed through the Due Obedience law.
Bignone has been named in the trials against Argentinian military both in Italy and Spain.
Gallery of Argentinian Torturers and Killers