Pour la défense de la justice internationale

MEXICO – Peu de temps après ma prise de fonction en tant que ministre des Affaires étrangères du Mexique en 2001, un problème d’un nouveau genre apparut sur mon bureau. Un officier de marine argentin qui avait refait sa vie au Mexique sous un nom d’emprunt était recherché par l’Espagne pour génocide, torture et terrorisme. Cet officier, Ricardo Miguel Cavallo, était impliqué dans des affaires de sévices infligés en 1977 et 1978 à la célèbre école navale de mécanique de Buenos Aires. Selon l’acte d’accusation espagnol, Cavallo appartenait aux unités d’opération d’un groupe activement impliqué dans l’enlèvement et la torture de gens que le régime militaire considérait comme gauchistes.

Devais-je extrader Cavallo en Espagne, pays tiers, pour être jugé pour crimes contre l’humanité commis en Argentine ? Signer ces papiers aurait été révolutionnaire, car cela aurait montré pour la première fois que des criminels contre l’humanité pouvaient être jugés n’importe où dans le monde si la justice n’était pas susceptible d’être rendue sur leur territoire.

Pour moi, la décision était simple : ces crimes exigeaient que justice soit faite, et il était bien plus probable que Cavallo soit tenu de rendre des comptes en Espagne qu’en Argentine. À l’époque, les lois d’amnistie en Argentine le protégeaient des poursuites. J’ai signé les papiers d’extradition.

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