September 21, 2014
Río Tercero explosion trial begins
The trial for the explosion of a military factory in Río Tercero, Córdoba province began today at the Province’s Federal Court II, 19 years after the explosions that killed seven people and wounded hundreds.
Four retired military officials are indicted in the probe. The plant’s former director, Jorge Cornejo Torino, the former chief of the munition dump, Marcelo Gatto, the factory’s production director Carlos Franke and his colleague from the Business Coordination office, Edberto González de la Vega face charges for “major damage with the death of persons”.
A civilian employee, Norberto Emanuel, who worked as deputy auditor in the plant at the time was also indicted but he died in 2012. The auditor, Juan Andreoli, died in an helicopter accident before he could be officially charged.
Former president Carlos Menem and ex Army Chief Martín Balza have been accused in prior stages of the judicial investigation but have both been acquitted for “lack of elements of proof”.
Río Cuarto Federal Judge Carlos Ochoa has stated that the explosions were cause by “a person or several persons, whose identities remain unknown in an intentional, planned and organized manner”.
Between 1991 and 1995 canons and projectiles that were illegally exported to Croacia were collected at the military plant.
The explosion of the weapons factory on November 3, 1995 destroyed much of the town of Río Tercero.