In 2005 Argentina repealed legislation that had granted a blanket amnesty to military and police personnel accused of human rights violations during the country’s “dirty war.” The military dictatorship that lasted from 1976 to 1983 resulted in the disappearances of about 30,000 people, mostly leftists, and the torture and imprisonment of thousands more. In 2006 the first trial for human rights abuses led to the conviction of a Buenos Aires provincial police officer. In 2007 a three-judge panel found a Catholic priest guilty of taking part in 7 murders and 42 kidnappings and assisting torture in 31 interrogation sessions. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
In July 2008 an Argentine court sentenced a former army general and commander of the Third Army Corps, Luciano Benjamín Menéndez, to life imprisonment for his role in the murder of four left-wing activists in 1977. The four were taken to a secret torture center, where they were killed. Their bodies were then dumped on the street, and the Argentine military claimed they were killed in a firefight. The court also convicted six other military officers and a civilian for atrocities committed under the military dictatorship. Four were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Argentina’s first lady, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, won the presidential elections in first-round balloting in October 2007, handily defeating her nearest opponent by nearly 22 percentage points. In succeeding her husband, Kirchner became Argentina’s first elected female president.
Nestor Kirchner declined to seek a second term, although polls had given him favorable ratings. His decision to promote his wife’s candidacy rather than his own was never explained. Cristina Kirchner was a senator from Buenos Aires province prior to the election. During the election campaign, she vowed to continue her husband’s center-left policies. In the June 2009 elections the Peronist Party suffered a massive defeat, losing control of both houses of Congress. In addition, Nestor Kirchner was defeated in his bid for a seat in the lower house of Congress; following this he resigned as head of the Peronist Party. This defeat made it highly unlikely that Cristina Kirchner would be able to win reelection in the 2011 presidential elections. "Argentina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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