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  • Former head of the Argentine Army, Cesar Milani.

    Former head of the Argentine Army, Cesar Milani. | Photo: La Tinta

Published 18 February 2017

Retired General Cesar Milani was arrested on charges related to kidnapping and torture during the brutal U.S.-backed military dictatorship.

On Friday, Argentina's former army chief was arrested on charges related to the kidnapping and torture of three people during the so-called "Dirty War" in which a military dictatorship unleashed vicious attacks on thousands of dissidents.

40 Years Since Argentina's Dictatorship and the Fight for Justice

Retired General Cesar Milani, who was head of the Argentine military from 2012 to 2015, was arrested in the northern province of La Rioja as part of Federal Judge Daniel Herrera's investigation into the 1977 kidnapping and torture of Pedro Olivera and his son Ramon, as well as the 1976 abduction of then 17-year-old Verónica Matta.

At the time, Milani was a junior officer at the 141st Battalion in La Rioja.

"We are happy because we believe, somehow, that we are on the path to really having justice done. It is an auspicious thing that Milani was detained," Ramon Olivera, one of the accusers, told Todo Noticias television.

Virginia Miguel Carmona, the chief federal prosecutor in the province, told reporters that Milani is also being investigated for espionage and embezzlement charges related to the U.S.-backed military dictatorship which lasted from 1976 until 1983 and led to the murder, torture, and disappearance of more than 30,000 people in the South American country.

"These are serious offenses, categorized as crimes against humanity," Carmona told reporters. "The judge ordered the arrest to ensure that the defendant appears at trial."

Ramon Oliveri first publicly accused Milani of kidnapping and torture in 1979, and Milani's term head of the Army was repeatedly criticized by human rights groups.

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