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September 19, 2017
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International rejection of Supreme Court 2x1 ruling

Fallout over the Supreme Court’s ruling to apply the so-called “2x1” formula to calculate sentences in a crimes against humanity case extended beyond the borders of Argentina, with prominent human rights defenders speaking out about the implications of the ruling.

In particular, the Regional Office for South America of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urged the Supreme Court to take into consideration international human rights standards.

“The use of the most favourable law must be interpreted in light of international standards applicable to crimes against humanity,” said the OHCHR Representative for South America, Amérigo Incalcaterra. “The State of Argentina, and the Supreme Court as a State institution, must comply not only with its domestic law, but also with applicable international norms and with its international commitments.”

Incalcaterra recalled that the Convention on the Non-Applicability of the Statute of Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity which was ratified by Argentina in 1995 and enjoys constitutional status in the country — together with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court establish that such crimes are beyond the Statutes of Limitations — and also set up the legal framework regarding the prosecution and the reparation to victims.

“Crimes against humanity not only offend victims, but all human beings. Therefore, they cannot be assimilated to common crimes and their seriousness requires a proportional sanction”, said the OHCHR representative.

“The right to reparation for victims of these crimes is a basic human right, enshrined in universal and regional human rights treaties, as well as in other international instruments, and should therefore be protected”.

In an interview on Radio Rebelde, former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón said that he was surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling and that “one cannot play with interpretations, a court can change its mind but it has to back it up with an argument.”

Garzón, known for promoting rights cases such as seeking the arrest of Chilean dictator, general Augusto Pinochet, added that the move “contributes to their not being a guarantee of non-repetition” of the crimes of the dictatorship.

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