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Part I
The Repression

Nunca Más (Never Again) - Report of Conadep  - 1984


A. General Introduction

Many of the events described in this report will be hard to believe. This is because the men and women of our nation have only heard of such horror in reports from distant places. The enormity of what took place in Argentina, involving the transgression of the most fundamental human rights, is sure, still, to produce that disbelief which some used at the time to defend themselves from pain and horror. In so doing, they also avoided the responsibility born of knowledge and awareness, because the question necessarily follows: how can we prevent it happening again? And the frightening realization that both the victims and their tormentors were our contemporaries, that the tragedy took place on our soil, and that those who insulted the history of our country in this way have yet to show by word or deed that they feel any remorse for what they have done.

With this first stage of investigations complete, the Commission on Disappeared People takes the weighty but necessary responsibility for affirming that everything set out in this report did indeed happen, even if some of the details of individual cases may be open to question. These questions can only be resolved conclusively by the testimony of those who took part in the events.

Month after month of listening to accusations, testimonies and confessions, of examining documents, inspecting places, and doing all in our power to throw light on these terrifying occurrences, has given us the right to assert that a system of repression was deliberately planned to produce the events and situations which are detailed in this report. The typical sequence was:  abduction - disappearance - torture. Each of the testimonies included in this report is representative of the thousands of cases which tell a similar story. Our selection represents only a tiny fraction of the material collected. A single one of these testimonies would in itself be enough to permit the moral condemnation which the Commission has expressed; but it is the sheer number of similar and inter-related cases which makes us absolutely convinced that a concerted plan of repression existed and was carried out.

The cases highlighted in the report were not due to any ’excesses’, because no such thing existed, if by ’excess’ we mean isolated incidents which transgress a norm. The system of repression itself, and its planning and execution, was the greatest ‘excess’- transgression was common and widespread. The dreadful ’excesses’ themselves were the norm.

It has repeatedly been claimed that those members of the security forces who committed any kind of ’excess’ during the anti-subversive campaign were properly brought to justice on the initiative of their commanders. This Commission wishes to deny strongly any such assertion. From the information we have collected, there is not a single instance of any member of the security forces being charged with involvement either in the forced abduction of a person, with the use of torture, or with causing the death of anyone held in the secret detention centres. The military commanders of the Process of National Reorganization reserved the term ’excess’ for any offence committed by military or police personnel for their own ends, without the authority of their superiors. It was not related to the repression itself.

As the report shows, murder, rape, torture, extortion, looting and other serious crimes went unpunished, as long as they were carried out within the framework of the political and ideological persecution unleashed during the years 1976 to 1982.



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