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Uruguay revokes ‘dirty war’ amnesty

Uruguay’s Congress has voted to scrap an amnesty for military officials who have been charged with allegations of human rights abuses during the military rule crackdown of leftists between 1975 and 1983.

After 12 hours of debate, the lower house of parliament voted 50-40 to eliminate the amnesty, which leaves Jose Mujica, the country's president left to approve the change.

Luis Puig, a ruling Broad Front coalition legislator, said,

"This is a historic night. The culture of impunity imposed during 25 years must be dismantled and turned into a culture of human rights."

Mujica is expected to sign the law before November 1st, when if there was no change in the amnesty, a statute of limitations would have blocked any new prosecutions put forward for crimes committed in the era.

Until now, the amnesty has survived many attempts to revoke it, with it twice having been put to vote in 1989 and 2009.

The change followed Argentina’s sentencing of Alfredo Astiz, the “Angel of Death”, for life imprisonment crimes committed during the country’s 1976-83 military dictatorship.

See our earlier post: 'Convictions in Argentina’s landmark death squad trials' (Oct 2011)

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