Assisting the Truth Trials for the Disappeared of La Plata


On April 1998, the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights of La Plata requested that the Federal Court of la Plata set up a process to “tell the truth” about the disappearances which occurred in that region of Argentina during the civil war.  As a result, the court established the “Truth Trials”, an unprecedented type of judicial proceeding without criminal sentencing or punishment, in which survivors testified to their direct experiences of human rights abuses as weekly trial sessions. While the purpose and scope of the proceedings were generally restricted to truth-telling, the testimony presented occasionally led to investigations and prosecutions. One notable example is the 2007 conviction of the chaplain of Buenos Aires Province Police, Christian Federico von Wernich, for torture and crimes against humanity.

In 2009, the court heard the testimony of survivors from the U9 prison. The U9 detainees were, at the time, primarily young professionals who opposed the military dictatorship. CJA represented one of the survivors, a U.S. lawyer residing in San Francisco who was brutally tortured during his imprisonment.