The Pinochet Era and Pinochet’s Delayed Trial

Chile: The Pinochet Era and Pinochet’s Delayed Trial

The 1973 coup d’état in Chile remains a crisis incident in Chile’s account. As a result of an extended duration of societal and dogmatic conflict involving the conservatively-controlled Congress of Chile and the socialist President Allende, along with trade and industry fighting instigated by U.S. A President Richard Nixon, Allende was removed from power by the army and national police force.[1]

Armed forces stopped the national regime and started a junta which cruelly suppressed the left-wing partisan activities mutually nationally and internationally. The armed forces chief, Pinochet, rose to ultimate authority in the year of this overthrow, officially gaining authority in the dawn of 1974.[2] The US government that had instigated by creating suitable circumstances for this coup quickly accepted the formed junta government and came in full support of its consolidation of power. Throughout the air attacks and ground raids that pave the way for the overthrow, Allende presented his last dialog, and he swore to remain in the presidential seat, disapproving suggestions for safe

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Passageway should he decide exile over conflict. Unswerving witnessed books of Allende’s death come to an agreement that he ended up committing suicide in the presidential palace.

 Prior to the regime of Pinochet, Chileans had been for years been addressed as an example of democracy and political solidity in a Southern American afflicted by armed governments and Caudillismo. A feeble rebellious association against the Pinochet’s régime was sustained in Chile by aspects sensitive to the previous Allende’s regime. And globally rallied for plebiscite in 1988 and finally overthrew Pinochet from the government. It is during this coup that Allende was killed and Pinochet then became the president of Chile republic.[3]

From the start of the new government, the new soldierly regime employed harsh actions against its supposed rivals. many reports and studies assert that in the middle of 1,200 and 3,200 individuals were murdered, almost 80,000 individuals were jailed and almost 30,000 were under torture for the duration of the time Pinochet was the president.[4]

The military authority employed economic restructurings, as well as currency stabilization, cutting of tariff, opening of the markets of Chile to the international trade, limiting labor unifications, privatized social security, and also privatized several state-managed businesses. These strategies ended up producing the “Miracle of Chile.” However, criticizers usually claim that government strategies intensely augmented economic inequality. The Republic of Chile has been in the 1990s, an excellent-acting economy within Latin America, although researchers are continuing disputing the heirloom of Pinochet’s developments.


The 17-years regime of Pinochet, was accorded a lawful outline via a debated 1980 referendum that did approve the fresh Constitution enlisted by the state-selected commission. During the 1988 referendum fifty, six percent voted against the continuance of Pinochet as the head of state, and this resulted to a democratic election for Presidency and Congress. Following his resigning in 1990, Pinochet served as a Commander-in-Chief in the Chile Military till 10th March 1998. During this time, he resigned and come to be the senator-for-life according to the 1980 Constitution. Nevertheless, he became apprehended as per a global  apprehension warrant as he was visiting London on 10th October 1998 together with various human rights accusations.[5]

After a lawful conflict, he was released by being held that he was not feeling well, and managed to return to Chile in March 2000. In the year 2004, Juan Guzmán Tapia (a judge from Chile) made a ruling on Pinochet’s being physically fitting to face trials and he placed Pinochet under home custody. Ensuing his death on 10th December 2006, almost 300 felonious charges remained unresolved against him in Chile for violation of many human rights in the time of his 17-years regime, tax evasion and misappropriation throughout and after his leadership; there were also some allegations filed in court for corruptly amassing almost US$28 million.[6]

The 1973 Military overthrow

Recorded 11th September 1973, the joint military of Chile (i.e. Army, Carabineros, Air Forces and Navy) managed to overthrow the government of Allende though a coup, in the course of which presidential stronghold, La Moneda, got fired at also president Allende ended up committing suicide. Whereas the armed forces later were claiming that Allende had committed suicide, a dispute has been cropping up regarding the death of President Allende, with most asserting that he was just murdered.[7]

Inside Pinochet’s autobiographies, reported that he remained the main schemer of the 1973 military coup and he managed to use his rank as the commander-in-chief of the Armed forces in coordinating a far-reaching strategy with the extra two subdivisions of the armed forces and the general police. Later, nevertheless, high armed officers from that duration of time have been saying that Pinochet hesitantly had become concerned only a few days prior the 1973 millitary coup was arranged to take place, and he was following the lead of the various branches (particularly the Navy) as they were executing this coup.

The new Pinochet’s government ended up rounding up many civilians and then held them inside the national stadium, and later had them murdered inside the stadium. From this incident, there came a harsh suppression in the time of Pinochet’s regime, in which almost 3,000 civilians were murdered, and at least 1,000 have their where-bouts not being traceable. 7

 What strategies did Augusto Pinochet apply while establishing and maintaining his rule and control in Chile?

Pinochet applied many deceitful and usually cruel strategies to make sure that he had a long-term regime as president in Chile. First, Pinochet had realized that for him to thrive, he was to alter the maker in which the Chilean government used to function. He implemented this by disbanding all the Chilean political parties, and this reduced the possibilities of any influential person making it to the presidential seat. He also made sure that proponents were fixed into big ranks in the government and raised their remunerations and benefits. This minimized the chances that these influential friends could differ with him or be in support of the opposition. He also had to appoint new generals with the intention of by 1980, all the active Chilean-duty generals were owing their ranks to him.[8]

These things, blended with the armed forces separation from public society, made the armed forces to become loyal to Pinochet, and this stopped politicizations by the citizens. In addition to Pinochet’s winning the hearts of the armed forces; he improved the constitution of Chile such that he was assured to be the president in the government of Chile for the rest of his time. The amended constitution was also giving him lawful imperviousness, which empowered Pinochet in committing numerous violations of Human Rights without being disciplined for a long duration of time. These desecrations were an additional tactic that Pinochet applied in maintaining his power. He was using secretive tactics while controlling the population of the Chilean nation and quelled any resistance. He quelled individuals by bowdlerizing the broadcasting and by jailing, kidnapping or deporting whoever he felt to be threatening his power. His major aims were; those who were participating in any leftist political party or the Widely held Unity government; trade unionist; representative from the social world, intellectual and university lecturers and scholars; human rights campaigners; associates of the opposition sects and whoever who was associating with or relating with to these individuals.[9]

Once Pinochet arrested people, these people could be to camps and most of them ended up experiencing some form of persecution.[10] Torturing of his rivals entailed even shocking things like being electrocuted; the amputation of fingernails; whippings; immersion into hot fluids; burning using cigarettes; sexual exploitation and mental torture etc. The army then murdered the detainees, set them free, or just categorized them to be “disappeared”. Majority of those deemed to have disappeared could lastly seen in these torture camps and would be assumed dead.

A total of 3 197 citizens perished or disappeared between September 11th, 1973 and March 11th, 1990 at the hands of the government representatives of suppression. Numerous citizens were tortured by the horror. The Chileans were, generally, affected by this suppression. Pinochet applied this terror to deter the rivals from differing with him, thus maintaining his regime.

Human rights violations

During the regime of Pinochet, he was accountable for many human rights mistreatments together with murders and torturing of political rivals. As stated by a government assignment report that was including the testimonies from at least 30,000 civilians, Pinochet’s administration murdered no less than 3,197 individuals and contrived almost 29,000. Twenty-three percent of these cases, which were in the list in this report, occurred in 1973.[11]

Between 1,500 and 2,000 Chileans were murdered or vanished in the period of Pinochet’s regime. The New York Times, in October 1979, asserted that Amnesty International was documenting the vanishing of about 1,500 Chilean citizens as from 1973. Amongst the murdered and vanished in the period of the military administration, were more than 663 Marxist MIR guerrilla. However, it is indicated that merely 49 FPMR guerrillas got murdered though many were imprisoned and tortured.

As reported in the research in Latin American Perspectives, more than 200,000 Chilean citizens (almost 2% of the 1973 population of Chine) were compelled to go into exile. In addition to this, thousands had to leave Chile in the awakening of the economic wars that ensued the army coup in the course of the 1970s and 1980s. Several major people who escaped due to political persecutions were being followed in their places of exile by the DINA secret policemen, in the context of Operation Condor, which was connected to the South American armed dictatorships organized against political rivals.[12]

Pinochet’s Delayed Trial

It was on a Friday evening on October 1998, when Augusto Pinochet was apprehended in London by the Metropolitan Policemen following a plea by one of the Spanish magistrates. This resulted into a saga which had weighty consequences for the matter, prosecution, and public opinion of intercontinental laws. [13]The Pinochet case entailed a substantial effect on various legal sectors, together with international criminal laws, human rights, government immunity, rule, deportation, and the connection between international laws and national legal systems.

Pinochet was being alleged by the Spanish magistrate (Baltasar Garzon) of various crimes against humanity since the 1973 coup. He was being accused of authorizing (or at least meaningfully official) tortures, disappearances, and taking hostage of many civilians. The victims comprised both the Chilean people and also citizens from various nations, as well as the UK and Spain. His criminalities were purported to have composed the global conspiracy of tracking down and murdering rivals of his military regime in Chile, the US, and in a different places[14]

Particular crimes, most remarkably the torturing of innocent civilians, were deemed “crimes under the international decree”—culprits of which might be impeached by any country irrespective of their nationality, the nationality of the victims, or the nation in which the crimes were carried out. Due to this, during the time Pinochet was arrested, there seemed to be no hindrance to his arrest nor any ostensible inhibition to his trial in the UK. Nevertheless, the lawyers of Pinochet debated that, as the head of state in the time when almost all of the purported wrongdoings were done, Pinochet had immunity from the authority of the UK lawcourts, as well as its arresting processes.[15] By so doing, the lawyers compelled the British panel of judges, initially in the Divisional Court and later at House of Lords, to make a choice between two very dissimilar opinions of international statute.

Many explanations on why the Chilean national law-courts were reluctant in applying worldwide jurisdiction. The judges in the national law-courts are in most cases not professionals on international statutes and are usually hesitant to be heavily relied on particularly when giving their verdicts. In specific, they might not be totally conversant with the fast and intense modifications in the global legal systems that happened in the after the half of the twentieth century, particularly regarding the human rights and the following deterioration of outmoded autonomous prerogatives. An alike vital explanation is concerned on the political repercussions ensuing from one nation’s claim of jurisdiction over the citizen of another nation for offenses that don’t have any apparent relation with the first nation.[16]

Politicians and people tend to significantly attach to customary conceptions of sovereignty and might feel seriously disrespected by what—to universal lawyers—are genuine applications of extensively established international laws. Consequently, the respective government, and possibly judges, would weigh the regularly unclear benefits of enforcement of the international criminal laws in a particular case against the very real cost that might arise to their nation’s political coalitions, countrywide security, and commerce.[17]

Therefore, General Pinochet’s case raised accurately the above matters. It did tax the thoughts and understanding of at least twenty national magistrates, none of them was a specialist in the international law, nor had studied international laws whenever it was on the basis of anything other than the customary, nation-centric model. From the standpoint of an altered geopolitical state having newer and possibly far less perilous imperatives than those that had earlier triumphed, the Pinochet case amounted into a query on the wisdom of the re-examination of anti-communism steps taken throughout the Cold War. Lastly, this case endangered the economic rapport of significant meaning, with British firms having invested seriously in Chile, and with Chile being a significant market share for the British weaponries industry.[18]

After the Law Lords had ruled against immunity of Pinochet, they focused all their attention to the accountable Jack Straw (cabinet minister). HIs being the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Jack Straw was obliged by Extradition Act 1989 into making a quasi-legal decision, by either allowing the arrest process to progression, or to freedom of Pinochet. The governments US and Chile, in specific, employed significant pressure on Jack Straw to make a decision on the second choice. This state of dilemma on Jack Straw resulting from the pressure on two sides made him delay in making the decision. It is only on December 9th, 1998, when Straw made a decision, as he had openly been insisting all along, that the extradition of Pinochet extradition was a jurisdictive issue, and not politically inclined.[19]

As a result of the judgment in Pinochet III,   Jack Straw was again facing another dilemma question on whether to grant right for the arrest to be proceeded. Since he had done so, on April 14th, 1999, was a testament again to the impact of global and domestic civic outlook, and to the pressuring effects of his preceding avowals—that the arrest was a legal and not a political matter. But amid the pressure he experienced from national and international dignitaries, he gave an ok for the extradition of Pinochet. As a matter of fact, Pinochet was extradited to Spain, on October 8th, 1999, and was accused of thirty-four cases of torture and one case of conspiracy to committing torture.[20]

Reacting to this decision, of Pinochet’s extradition, the Chilean Government urged, on October 14th, 1999, that Straw think of having Pinochet released on medical grounds. He responded by planning for a medical inspection by four famous British medical practitioners. The inspection happened on January 5th, 2000 and found that Pinochet was not fit to stand trials—although this report given to Straw wasn’t released to the media or to the international judicial bodies advocating for the extradition of Pinochet. This was as a result of health privacy. In its place, Straw simply professed that, on the grounds of what he had felt, he was “mindful” to ordering the freedom of Pinochet. By February 16th, 2000, the report had leaked to the mass media. It was then obvious that Pinochet was undeniably very sick, that he suffered from widespread brain damages and therefore he wouldn’t be capable of adequately following to the following his trial. By then, it was clear that the calling off of the extradition and sending back of Pinochet to Chile was possible.[21]

In conclusion, Pinochet got into power through a military coup whereby he not only overthrew President Allende but led to his debatable assassination. Pinochet established an oppressive leadership to all his political rivals. He ordered murders and torturing of his political rivals and many innocent Chilean and international nationals. However, due to the inadequacy of the country’s judicial system and his being immune to prosecution, he remained in power committing numerous crimes against humanity. After a new president was elected, he was then subjected to the international charges for the crimes he had committed against humanity during his regime as a president. However, his lawyers always schemed to have him not prosecuted even upon his arrest in Britain. His trial had many factors that challenged his prosecution including his mental health and pressure from nations like US and Chile to have him not extradited.

Work cited

Alec, Nove. Socialism, Economics and Development. London: Allen & Unwin, 1986.


Angell, Alan. The Cambridge History of Latin America, Vol. VIII, 1930 to the Present.

Ed. Leslie Bethell. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Print

Cento, Bull. The Oxford Handbook of Fascism. Oxford University: Oxford University

Press, 2009. Print

Clifford, Krauss. In Chile’s Vote Today, Candidates Converge in Center, New York:

N.Y. Times Press, 2000. Print

Frederic, Kirgis. Possible Indictment of Pinochet in the United States, ASEAN.

Singapore: ISEAS Publications, 2000. Print

Lawson, George. Negotiated Revolutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.


Michael, Byers. The law and politics of the pinochet case. Routledge. Routledge press,

  1. Print

Monte, Smith. A Chilean Dictator’s Dark Legacy. Washington: Washington Post

Company press, 2006. Print

Muñoz, Heraldo. The dictator’s shadow : life under Augusto Pinochet. New York: Basic

Books, 2008

Walter, Laqueur. Fascism: Past, Present, Future. Oxford University: Oxford University

Press, 1997. Print

Whelan, James. Out of the Ashes: Life, Death and Transfiguration of Democracy in

Chile, 1833-1988. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Print

Winn, Peter. A Century of Revolution. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. Print

Stern, Steve. Remembering Pinochet’s Chile. Duke University: Duke University Press,

  1. Print

Steven, Ratner. Accountability For Human Rights Atrocities In International Law.

University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997. Print

Thomas, Leonard. Encyclopedia Of The Developing World. Routledge. Routledge Press,

  1. Print

Valenzuela, Valenzuela. Modernization and Dependency: Alternative Perspectives in the

Study of Latin-American Underdevelopment. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993. Print

[1] See Lawson especially chapters 1 and 2, for an insightful analysis of this trend.


[2] See Alec 3-20

[3] See Winn 239–275


[4] See Angell 318


[5] See Walter 115


[6]See Thomas

[7] See  Cento 604


[8] See Stern 32, 90, 101, 180–81

[9] see Valenzuela 23-47

[10] see Whelan 22-33

[11] See Monte 14-27


[12] See Michael 24

[13]See Muñoz 15-19


[14] See Frederic 13-17


[15] See 140-141


[16] See 140-141

[17] See 140-143

[18] See 141-146

[19] See Michael 24


[20] see Michael 33-42

[21] See Clifford 14-25

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