June 19, 2013
Senate clears AMIA accord for debate
The Upper House’s Foreign Relations, Justice and Constitutional Affairs committees held a debate yesterday on the bill that aims to establish the agreement with Iran to jointly investigate the 1994 AMIA terrorist attack as a treaty, later clearing it to be voted on Thursday next week.
Among the speakers were Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, who signed the preliminary memorandum of understanding with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, AMIA and DAIA Jewish community leaders Guillermo Borger and Julio Schlosser, AMIA victims’ relatives associations representatives, senators, and the Foreign Ministry lawyer Susana Ruiz Cerutti. Ceru-tti, the attorney who defended Argentina during the Libertad frigate embargo in Ghana, clarified that the accord if approved is a “treaty” saying that “what matters more than its denomination is its content.”
Timerman began the session by presenting and defending the agreement with Iran. “For the first time there is a written commitment with Iran” that seeks to “find justice for the victims,” he said, calling for opposition legislators who oppose the accord to “stop fantasizing,” because the document “does not contain secret clauses or seek spurious interests as was alleged at will by” their “friends in the media.”
The foreign minister argued the agreement “will allow for compliance with the Penal Code’s procedural steps,” and that “for the first time,” the suspects “for which Interpol released Red Notices for, will stand before a judge” and will be interrogated. However, when asked if the agreement included a compulsory clause for the suspects to be subjected to interrogation, he answered: “They may not testify, but they could also refuse to do so here (in Argentina.)”
“We have an agreement that obliges Iran” to advance with the investigation, so if it “does not, Iran will be responsible,” he assured, explaining: “I have to meet with people that I did not not want to meet with. I did it because I firmly believe, from the heart, that we can manage to mobilize the case. It is no pleasure for me to sit with Holocaust deniers.”
AMIA and DAIA reaffirm
Borger and Schlosser categorically rejected the proposed treaty once again in front of the senators in attendance, after urging them yesterday to vote against the bill.
The AMIA and DAIA leaders spoke firmly against Timerman’s arguments, reiterating recent statements including that “Iran is not a trustworthy partner.”
Borger insisted that the Jewish community “rejects the proposed agreement and cannot accept the Truth Commission because the truth is on the table and commissions cannot be above Argentine laws.”
The AMIA leader also insisted that the memorandum could be utilized by Iran to pave the way for a “third terrorist attack.”
“We fully trust the Argentine justice system, but this can fall prey to nullity, and I repeat that we would be fertile land once again for a third attack,” he argued, although recognizing he had no evidence that an attack was being prepared.
Grouping for the Clarification of the AMIA Massacre leader Laura Ginsberg was able to direct questions to senators and voice her organization’s standpoint, despite not having been included in the authorized list of speakers, with Kirchnerite Senator Daniel Filmus initially denying her attempt to speak.
“If you support this law, you will” be “carrying out due obedience” and sanctioning “the Full Stop Law for the AMIA,” she affirmed, likening the bill’s approval to the law passed in 1986, which ended the investigation into and the prosecution of officials accused of human right abuses during the last dictatorship.
“What happens if the commission says there is no evidence? This is a dead end,” she emphasized, assuring the agreement “deepens impunity.”
Relatives and Friends of AMIA Victims and Active Memory representatives Olga Degtiar and Diana Malamud differed in opinion, with the former saying: “I heard a lot of negativity but not one suggestion to unblock the case,” and the latter that “after 19 years all we have is impunity.”
Senators split into gov’t
and opposition bandwagons
Radical (UCR) Senator Ernesto Sanz asserted yesterday that merely continuing the debate over the agreement with Iran before “hearing the opinions of Prosecutor (Alberto) Nisman and Judge (Rodolfo) Canicoba Corral” is of “grave institutional irresponsibility.” He considered Nisman and Canicoba Corral’s expertise on the case which they preside over, and their representation of the “third government branch” to be “imperative, absolutely necessary”.
Victory Front (FpV) Senator Miguel Angel Pichetto reacted strongly to Borger’s remarks on a possible third terrorist attack, describing the AMIA leader to have shown “great irresponsibility” in expressing such statements “without evidence.”
Pichetto added that “no detriment would result from no arrest being made.”
Former President Adolfo Rodríguez Saá criticized the bill, describing the proposed commission as an “extension of jurisdiction due to the new norms of procedure it dictates, describing both concepts as “repugnant” to the Constitution.
—Herald with DyN, Ambito.com