May 26, 2013
Menem convicted in arms-smuggling case
A Cassasion Court has convicted former president Carlos Saúl Menem for his involvement in a case of weapons smuggling to Ecuador and Croatia in the 90’s. Former Defence Minister Oscar Camillión was also found guilty by judges Raúl Madueño, Luis María Cabral and Juan Carlos Gemignani.
During the Menem administration –from 1989 to 1999-, 6,500 tons of weapons officially destined to Panamá and Venezuela ended up in Croatia during the former Yugoslavia conflict in 1991 and in Ecuador during that country’s border war with Perú in 1995.
Now a Senator, 82-year old Menem has denied any responsibility in the arms row and stated in a trial that his government “only signed arm export decrees” to Venezuela and Panamá.
The ex president had already served six months in prison for the same charges in 2001 after being accused of conspiracy to sale weaponsn but was freed following a ruling by the Supreme Court.
While the sentence is yet to be confirmed by a Penal Economic Court and could reach a 15-year conviction, Menem would not be imprisoned given his parliamentary immunity.