Europa World: The Europa World Year Book online Routledge -- Taylor & Francis group
Military rule A return to Peronismo

Civilian rule

Argentina: Civilian rule

General and presidential elections were held in October 1983, in which the UCR defeated the Peronist Partido Justicialista (PJ). Dr Raúl Alfonsín, the UCR candidate, took office as President in December. He announced a radical reform of the armed forces, repealed the amnesty law and ordered the court martial of the first three military juntas to rule Argentina after the 1976 coup, for offences including abduction, torture and murder. Public opposition to the former military regime was reinforced by the discovery and exhumation of hundreds of bodies from unmarked graves throughout the country. (It was believed that 15,000–30,000 people ‘disappeared’ during the so-called dirty war between the former military regime and its opponents in 1976–83.) President Alfonsín also announced the formation of the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons to investigate the events of the dirty war. The trial of the former leaders concluded in December 1985: four of the accused were acquitted, but sentences were imposed on five others, including sentences of life imprisonment for Gen. Videla and Adm. Eduardo Massera (they were released in 1990). In 1986 all three members of the junta that had held power during the Falklands conflict were found guilty of negligence and received prison sentences, including a term of 12 years for Galtieri.

In December 1986 the Congress approved the Punto Final (Full Stop) law, whereby civil and military courts were to begin new judicial proceedings against members of the armed forces accused of violations of human rights, within a 60-day period. However, in May 1987, following a series of minor rebellions at army garrisons, the Government announced new legislation, known as the Obediencia Debida (Due Obedience) law, whereby an amnesty was to be declared for all but senior ranks of the police and armed forces. Of the 350–370 officers hitherto due to be prosecuted for alleged violations of human rights, only 30–50 senior officers were now to be tried.

Citation: Civilian rule (Argentina), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. Retrieved 20 October 2018 from

Military rule A return to Peronismo

Back to Top

Please note, this site uses web standards that your browser does not support.
See help for further information.