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Prosecutor Seeks Stiffer Sentences in Falklands War Cases

September 16, 1986

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ A federal prosecutor asked Monday for stiffer sentences for the three members of the military junta that led Argentina into its 1982 war with Britain over the Falkland Islands.

Prosecutor Julio Strassera, in a writ filed with the Federal Criminal Appeals Court, also asked that punishment be ordered for two generals and an admiral who were acquitted of war-related charges at a court martial.

Appeals court sources said Strassera asked for a review of the court- martial verdicts on grounds that they ″do not conform with the gravity of the crimes committed.″

The armed forces, which had ruled Argentina since a 1976 coup, were humiliated by their crushing defeat in the Falklands War and after a shakeup of the junta the military restored democracy the following year.

Elections held in October 1983 were won by the centrist Radical Civic Union and Raul Alfonsin was installed as president that December.

Strassera’s writ recommended longer sentences for the former junta members, Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri who was president and the army commander, ex-navy commander Adm. Jorge Anaya, and the former air force chief Gen. Basilio Lami Dozo. It seeks sentences for army generals Mario Benjamin Menendez and Omar Parada and Adm. Juan Jose Lombardo who were acquitted.

The court sources said Strassera did not suggest specific sentences, but he would make recommendations if the court agreed to review the cases.

On May 16 the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Argentina’s highest military tribunal, found the three ex-junta members guilty of ″the military crime of negligence″ in launching and losing the 74-day war with Britain.

Galtieri was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment, Anaya 14 and Lami Dozo 8.

Thirteen other officers, including Menendez, who was wartime govenor of the Falklands; Parada, a division commander on the islands, and Lombardo, commander of the South Atlantic theater of operations, were acquitted.

In recommending punishment for Menendez, Parada and Lombardo, the prosecutor said the military court had overlooked their ″failure to carry out required planning and supervision and command of the troops under them.″

He proposed that the appeals court ratify the acquital of the 10 other officers.

About 11,000 Argentine soldiers occupied the British colony 150 miles off Argentina’s southern coast after subduing the 40 British marines stationed in the Falklands at the time of the April 2 invasion. Britain then sent a task force and recaptured the islands. The Argentine troops surrendering on June 14.

Argentine losses were listed as 712 killed while 255 British soldiers died in the fighting.

The Falklands are inhabited by about 1,800 people, most of whom are of British descent and strongly oppose Argentina’s claim of sovereignty.

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