Three Former Junta Members Convicted for Falklands War
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ Three former junta members were convicted of negligence for launching and losing the 1982 Falklands War with Britain and have been sentenced to up to 14 years in prison, a source within the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said today.
The source said the council, Argentina’s highest military tribunal, sentenced Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, a former president and army commander, to 12 years; former navy commander Adm. Jorge Anaya to 14 years in prison; and former air force chief Gen. Basilio Lami Dozo received eight.
The council source spoke on condition of anonymity.
Reports of the council’s decision, attributed to unidentified military sources, appeared in several Buenos Aires daily newspapers today.
Gen. Hector Canale, prosecutor general of the armed forces, told The Associated Press he had yet to be officially informed and could not confirm the reports.
The verdict and sentences end a court-martial that began in November 1983. The proceedings were held behind closed doors for what were termed ″reasons of national security.″
The 74-day Falklands War was precipitated by Argentina’s invasion of the disputed British islands off the Argentine coast on April 2, 1982.
There was no immediate official explanation of the differing sentences. Canale had asked for 12 years each for Galtieri and Anaya and eight for Lami Dozo.
Anaya was initially a staunch advocate of Argentina’s invasion of the Falklands. But after the British sank his most heavily armed warship, the General Belgrano, he confined his fleet close to Argentina’s shore for the duration of the conflict.
Lami Dozo, although an equal part of the three-man governing body that ordered the invasion, apparently was treated more leniently because of his branch’s good accounting of itself in the war.
He has also been described as the junta member most amenable to a diplomatic solution before the fighting began.
Argentine pilots sank four British warships during the war and were later praised for their skill and daring by British commanders.
Galtieri and Anaya, both 59, and 57-year-old Lami Dozo have been under arrest since February 1984. Time served to date counts toward their sentences.
In addition to the junta members, 13 other officers were originally indicted on negligence or misconduct charges following an inter-branch commission’s investigation into the war.
Although there was no official confirmation early today, the source consulted by the AP said the 13 others were either acquitted or given disciplinary sanctions, but were not sentenced to prison terms.
Galtieri, Anaya and Lami Dozo were acquitted last year in the trial of nine former members of three successive juntas on murder and torture charges in connection with the disappearance of thousands of people during the military’s 1976-80 campaign against suspected subversives. Five of the nine were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 4 1/2 years to life.
About 11,000 Argentine soldiers occupied the Falklands, 250 miles off southern Argentina, after a vanguard of elite troops subdued 40 British marines stationed there. Argentina claims rightful ownership of the islands.
Britain sent a task force to reconquer the colony, home to about 1,500 mostly British-descended sheepherders and fishermen.
Argentina surrendered on June 14, 1982. Argentina lost 712 soldiers in the fighting, and Britain 255.
Galtieri was ousted two days after the surrender, while Anaya and Lami Dozo were prematurely retired shortly afterwards.
The officers who replaced them on the ruling junta charted an accelerated return to civilian rule, culminating with the election of President Raul Alfonsin, whose inauguration was on Dec. 10, 1983.
Galtieri, Anaya and Lami Dozo were convicted of violations of Article 740 of the Code of Military Justice, which pertains to ″the military crime of negligence.″