DNA study was halted due to the appealFriday, April 9, 2010
Court rules in favour of Grandmothers
The National Cassation Court ruled that DNA samples from the adopted son and daughter of Grupo Clarín major stockholder Ernestina Herrera de Noble must be compared with all the samples stored in the National Bank of Genetic Data (BNDG) to find out whether they are the children of people disappeared during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.
Judges Guillermo Yacobucci, Luis García and Gustavo Mitchell unanimously rejected as "inadmissible" the appeal against a similar decision taken by Federal Judge Conrado Bergesio, filed earlier this year by the lawyers of Marcela and Felipe Noble Herrera, Jorge Anzorreguy and Horacio Silvia.
The DNA study was halted as a consequence of the appeal.
Marcela and Felipe Noble Herrera want their DNA compared only with the samples of two families who have claimed they are the children of missing relatives, but the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo have been strongly demanding that their DNA must be tested with all genetic samples stored in the BNDG to know the truth.
The Cassation Court severely rebuked Anzorreguy and Silva and ordered the Bar Association to investigate the lawyers' conduct.
The magistrates argued that they were not entitled to file the appeal against Judge Bergesio's ruling without the signature of Marcela and Felipe Noble Herrera.
Likewise, the court said the lawyers may be liable for representing "conflicting interests," given they also had Herrera de Noble as their client at another stage of this case.
Herrera de Noble had been charged with illegally adopting the children and it has been alleged that she knew their biological parents had been kidnapped by the military.
The Cassation Court's ruling can be appealed before the Supreme Court.
Alan Liud, the lawyer of the Grandmothers, said any further appeal should be rejected outright. "In less than a month the DNA tests should be conducted," he told reporters.
When the appeal against Bergesio's ruling was granted, Liud had said "this is again an incomprehensible delay in this case that has been going on for eight years. It would have been already solved, but the people involved have a lot of power, as Herrera de Noble, who receives a very special treatment in court."
The case has political overtones. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has taken a personal interest in seeing it swiftly solved. On March 24, at a ceremony to mark the 34th anniversary of the March 24, 1976 military coup she pledged to go "personally" to international courts to see justice done if Argentine judges did not rule soon.
Fernández de Kirchner, without making a direct reference to the case by name, added that the truth will emerge despite "a huge and almost extortive" media power "over politicians, judges and businessmen, an almost mob-style power," with the aim of preventing the truth from being known.
Addressing the Grandmothers head Estela de Carlotto, the President remarked: "I know Estela that you are going through a difficult moment, you and Argentine democracy."
After the ceremony on March 24, Carlotto told reporters that the President's remarks had been a "direct" reference to the adult son and daughter of Herrera de Noble, without actually naming them. Fernández de Kirchner's speech and her support are "crucial" for the Grandmothers in their quest for the biological identity of Herrera de Noble's children, Carlotto said.