Pinochet: Canada should follow Britain’s lead


Rights & Democracy applauds the British cabinet’s decision to allow extradition to proceed against former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet who is wanted in Spain on charges of torture and crimes against humanity.

Montreal, April 15, 1999 The International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development applauds the British cabinet’s decision to allow extradition to proceed against former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet who is wanted in Spain on charges of torture and crimes against humanity.

The President of the International Centre, Warren Allmand, said in a statement today that the British decision will advance the cause of human rights and is an important part of the fight against impunity worldwide.

“We would wish that Canada demonstrate the same willingness and courage to take on Gen. Pinochet to bring him to account for his actions during his reign of terror in Chile,” he said.

The International Centre, with many non-governmental organizations and lawyers representing Canadians who were victims of human rights abuses in Chile, has called on the federal government to support and to seek the extradition of Gen. Pinochet to Canada, to face charges of torture and crimes against humanity.

Mr. Allmand said Canada supports universal jurisdiction and has passed legislation giving effect to this principle in Canadian law. Under the principle, Canada not only has the right, but the duty, to bring international criminals to justice for international crimes, such as torture, and that includes Gen. Pinochet.

Last month, Britain’s highest court ruled the former Chilean dictator was not immune from prosecution for alleged crimes involving torture as long as the charges related to incidents after 1988, the year Britain incorporated into its national law, the international convention against torture.

The House of Lords decision is consistent with recent efforts to create an International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICHRDD is a member of an international campaign lobbying States for quick ratification of the Statute.