Argentina’s Supreme Court voted to send former Buenos Aires police commissioner and convicted genocidal killer, Miguel Etchecolatz, back to prison. Last December, the No. 6 Federal Hearing Court ruled to grant Etchecolatz house arrest removing him from prison where, since 2006, he was completing several life sentences for two counts of crimes against humanity, including genocide, committed during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.
Judges Elena Highton de Nolasco, Juan Carlos Maqueda, Ricardo Lorenzetti and Horacio Rosatti ruled to overturn the December ruling in favor of 88-year-old Etchecolatz. They cited a 2016 precedent that revoked house arrest for another convicted torturer and former doctor for the Buenos Aires police during the dictatorship, Jorge Antonio Berges.
The former head of the Bueno Aires police had been in charge of 21 clandestine detention centers. Prior to his 2006 sentencing, Etchecolatz was convicted of masterminding some of the government’s first kidnappings of hundreds of babies of political prisoners and illegally putting them up for adoption.
The Public Prosecutor's Office had appealed the decision that granted Etchecolatz house arrest because the accused did not suffer an “incurable illness” and his prison was “not an inadequate environment;” to requirements for granting criminals house arrest.
Using the Berges case, the Supreme Court said that domicile detention "must be preceded by Forensic Medical Corps reports (of the convicted) because it is impartial and guarantees specific norms," which was lacking in the original house arrest request.
Carlos Rosenkrantz, president of the Supreme Court, was the only judge who ruled to maintain Etchecolatz in house arrest in Mar del Plata saying the appeals were “inadmissible.”
The Argentine human rights organization, H.I.J.O.S (Sons and Daughters For the Identity and Justice Against Silence and Forgetting) tweeted of the decision: “The only place for the genocidal Etchecotatz is behind bars.”
Last Friday, the Supreme Court also sentenced the former police commander to his fourth life sentence.