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The AN confirms the extradition to Uruguay of a doctor claimed for participating in torture during the dictatorship

Two magistrates present a particular opinion considering that the facts would have prescribed.

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The AN confirms the extradition to Uruguay of a doctor claimed for participating in torture during the dictatorship

Two magistrates present a particular opinion considering that the facts would have prescribed


The National Court (AN) has confirmed the extradition to Uruguay of a doctor claimed by the country for advising the military in interrogations with torture between 1972 and 1975 --during the dictatorship--, facts that would constitute the crimes of abuse of authority against detainees, serious injuries and unlawful deprivation of liberty, classified as crimes against humanity.

In an order, collected by Europa Press, the Criminal Chamber dismissed the appeal filed by the defendant, Carlos Américo Suzacq, against the decision of the Third Section, last January, thus confirming his delivery.

In his appeal, the doctor's defense considered the principle of legality violated by granting extradition for non-punishable acts that, moreover, would be prescribed. Also, because there is not a minimally solid account of the facts that are the object of the imputation, as well as because the claim does not have a material motivation.

The magistrates, however, argue that the criterion used to deny the prescription of crimes is the most appropriate, since it is the one that responds to the application of the best law, in attention to the concurrent circumstances analyzed.

In addition, the order alludes to "the extraordinary seriousness of acts that can be qualified as crimes produced in the context of crimes against humanity, the prosecution and punishment of which is in the interest of the entire international community."

This entails, he adds, that they can even be prosecuted extraterritorially, either by an international court or by third states regardless of where they have been committed through universal jurisdiction, when it is not effective in their territory.

And it is that in the present case, points out the Chamber, Uruguay has shown an express willingness to pursue and punish him and for this has requested the necessary legal cooperation from Spain through the extradition mechanism, without there being any legal impediments for this cooperation. occurs, as they are equally incriminable in Spain as crimes of illegal detention and injuries produced in the context of crimes against humanity.

In the opinion of the magistrates, there is no "absolute impediment to extradition in the event of its possible prescription, as the bilateral Treaty expressly provides for an extradition clause in these cases, and an optional non-delivery clause, but that currently does not exist." has been acted upon, opting reasonably and reasonedly in favor of extradition to avoid hateful impunity, which would be contrary to the principles of international criminal law".

Regarding the allegation of Zuzacq's defense that the extradition request was sent without a minimally solid account, the Chamber argues that, far from what the party affirms, the account of the Uruguayan authorities is solid and coherent, for what can not be appreciated a violation of effective judicial protection.

However, the order has the private vote of two magistrates, José Pedro Vázquez and Teresa Palacios, in which they maintain that the facts would constitute illegal detention and injuries under Spanish law, for which reason they would have prescribed after five years. of the events, that is, 1979 or 1980. For this reason, they consider that the prescription is not that it is barely fulfilled, but rather that it is fulfilled more than seven times.

For both magistrates, there is no seriousness of the facts that justifies ignoring the intrinsic power of the prescription, since in this case there is no news of genocide, nor of murder, nor of homicide, nor of forced disappearance of a person, nor of the most serious crimes against sexual freedom, or mutilation.

In the same sense, they believe that acceding to the extradition supposes a disproportion that the legislator of the treaty did not want, who, if he had wanted it, would not have left "the gate open to the transcendence of the prescription."

In the same way, they believe that the nature of the facts must be understood as linked to the legislation of the time: "If the Penal Code of 1973 conceived them as a crime of illegal detention and as a crime of injuries, with the inherent seriousness, they do not extraordinary, to this we have to be for all purposes, even though almost fifty years later, as usual, as History teaches, the conception of the same facts has changed".