Twenty-six years after the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) confirmed what the families of the victims have been denouncing throughout decades of struggle and search for a truth that has yet to be found. The IACHR declared the state of Argentina responsible for the violation of the right to life of the 85 fatal victims of the attack, for denying us the right to justice, and for the ongoing absence of an explanation as to what happened on July 18, 1994.
This was made public in the Merits Report issued by the IACHR this past September 25th on the international case that Memoria Activa filed in 1999 with CELS’ sponsorship. Our decision to go against the State was motivated by its failure to prevent a terrorist attack despite the available intelligence. Also, after the bombing, the government offered no answers, and rather than launching a serious investigation, it put all of its institutions to the contribution of covering up the evidence and possible authors, thus fostering impunity.
In this sense, the Commission affirms that the impunity that surrounds the attack is the result of illegal maneuvres by Argentinean institutions, which included imposing unfounded lines of investigation and dropping the rational ones. These actions willingly undertaken by the State has put the truth further out of reach.
With these shameful actions, the report maintains, the State violated the right to life, the personal integrity of the victims and their next of kin, their right to adequate judicial protection, and the right of society as a whole to know the truth.
Given this, it is clear, as stated by the Commission, that the unveiling of the deliberate cover-up and deviation of the investigation, and the prosecution and sentencing of those involved are the result of the two decades of organization, work, persistence, and sustained claim by the victims’ families, united under Memoria Activa.
The institutional and social damage caused by the more than proven cover-up scheme is enormous. Unfortunately, the network of relationships between sectors of the political power, the intelligence services, and members of the judiciary that stall the cases for which continue to demand justice has not been completely dismantled.
It took many years and scandals to get to this moment. In the meantime, those who were children in 1994 and lost their father or mother, became adults while parents died without knowing who was responsible for the death of their children. Today another stage begins. The decision of the Inter-American Commission should commit the Argentine State to do everything necessary to avoid yet another generation be left wondering why, how, and who orchestrated the worst attack ever perpetrated against Argentines.