CELS Security and Justice director explains the process behind the new reportThursday, December 19, 2013
‘The answers he gave us demonstrate we can’t trust him’
In what appears to have become a trend, The Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) once again presented groundbreaking information which further tainted Army chief César Milani’s record in crimes committed during the last military dictatorship on the same day his promotion was up for vote in the Senate.
In the report, CELS provided a questionnaire that Milani answered, a document listing the discrepancies in his responses, new archival information that purports to demonstrate his complicity and a concluding summary detailing why Milani should step down.
CELS director of Security and Justice Paula Litvachky, explained to the Herald yesterday before the Senate debate took place, what steps were taken to gather and present the new information that was released on the same day as the Senate debate.
What was the process that led CELS to obtain this new documentation?
Milani contacted us through a third party on December 9 and told us he would be willing to give us a written statement with regard to his conduct during the dictatorship. We accepted this offer the following day on the condition that he answer a list of questions. The questions weren’t centred around the criminal case against him, but about the context of his presence in La Rioja and Tucumán at the time. He sent back his list of answers three days later on December 13 and then we immediately went to work creating a document that analyzed his answers.
Why do his answers incriminate him more?
The answers he gave us demonstrate that we can’t trust the head of the Army. His answers hide the truth and are not consistent. When asked about the 141 Battalion he belonged to, he claims he was not aware of a concentration camp that existed on the premises, although there are many testimonies to the contrary. In relation to the desertion document of Alberto Ledo that he signed, he claims it was just bureaucratic procedure but according to the military code he was responsible for investigating the case. Ledo never reappeared, and it is documented that a claim of desertion was often used for someone who disappeared. He also claims that he just helped transferred legally detained prisoners as an administrative duty, even though he transferred prisoners on the grounds where a clandestine prison existed at the same time.
Why didn’t CELS publicize this information earlier?
Because we only recently received this information. We needed to examine and check the information and for that we needed two to three days. And since we only received Milani’s answers on Friday, we needed two or three days to do this.
This is the second time that CELS publishes information that compromises the general’s record on the same day of a crucial vote. Is this on purpose?
No, it just has to do with how the investigation developed.
Did the government know you were going to provide this information?
I have no idea.