Three Former Military Chiefs Want Sentences Overturned
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ Former President Leopoldo Galtieri and two top commanders jailed by a military court after the 1982 Falklands War appeared before a civilian appeals court Tuesday trying to get their sentences overturned.
However, Federal Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo asked the court for stiffer punishment for Gen. Galtieri; Adm. Jorge Anaya, a former navy chief, and Brig. Gen. Basilio Lami Dozo, former chief of the armed forces.
Galtieri, Anaya and Lami Dozo comprised the ruling junta at the outbreak of the Falklands War. All three now are serving sentences in military prison.
They wore their military uniforms in court Tuesday. Although stripped of their ranks by the military court, they were allowed to keep the ranks pending a final ruling by the civilian appeals court.
Moreno Ocampo also asked the court to convict three other high-ranking officers who were absolved in May 1986 by the Armed Forces Supreme Council, the nation’s highest military tribunal.
The trial, expected to last about three weeks, recessed Tuesday and will resume Wednesday.
At issue is the conduct of the 74-day war, which Argentina initiated with an April invasion.
Britain retook the disputed archipelago off Argentina’s southern coast in June 1982. It has claimed possession of the remote, sparsely populated colony in the South Atlantic since 1833.
A military inquiry later found Argentine soldiers were poorly trained, equipped and led.
Argentina’s death toll in the Falklands War was 712, compared to 255 for Britain.
The debacle followed the decline of Argentina’s economy during nearly eight years of military rule. It forced the army to retire from political power and led to the election of Raul Alfonsin as civilian president in 1983.
The three appealed their convictions and sentences - 12 years for Galtieri, 14 for Anaya, eight for Lami Dozo.
Under Argentine law, an appeal by the prosecutor is mandatory, and the Federal Appeals Court can reconsider acquittals as well as convictions.
Moreno Ocampo lodged charges against three other high-ranking officials who were among 13 acquitted by the military court - Gens. Mario Menendez and Omar Parada and Vice Adm. Juan Jose Lombardo.