La Rioja Province Federal Judge Daniel Herrera Piedrabuena indicted the former Army Chief during the Kirchner administration, César Milani, today for crimes against humanity. In his ruling, Piedrabuena ruled that there was enough evidence to determine that Milani was involved with three abductions that took place during the last dictatorship, in 1976 and 1977. Given that these are charges of crimes against humanity, the former Army Chief’s actions during the investigated events are not restricted by any statute of limitations.

The judge also ruled to seize Milani’s assets for AR $1 million, so that hot dog franchise he set along with former Domestic Trade Secretary Guillermo Moreno about a year ago better be doing well. If that’s not the case, he could consider selling the 450 square meter house he has in the wealthy district of San Isidro. But taking into account that the purchase prompted Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas to indict him for unlawful enrichment, this might not be the best decision either.

Today’s case is the same as the one Milani was detained for last month after being summoned to testify before the judge. He’s been held in preemptive custody ever since: initially kept in a compound in La Rioja, he was later transferred to a prison in Campo de Mayo, which the Macri administration re-sainctioned last year to house inmates charged or sentenced with crimes against humanity.

Milani in the prison in La Rioja. Photo via Clarín
Milani in the prison in La Rioja. Photo via Clarín

The cases Milani has been indicted for, center around the kidnappings of Pedro Adán Olivera, his son Ramón Alfredo Olivera, and of Verónica Matta. At the time, Milani was a Second Lieutenant in La Rioja’s 141st battalion of engineers.

According to his testimony in the case, Pedro Olivera was abducted from his home by members of the military for two days, during which he remained “disappeared,” and claims to have been tortured. As a result, he suffered injuries that left half his body paralyzed. The military then released him in front of his house but took his son, who underwent his same fate for 10 days. It was Pedro’s son Ramón Olivera who identified Milani as the military officer who raided his house.

Verónica Matta was also abducted during the last dictatorship. She testified identifying Milani as the man who led the operation behind her kidnapping, which took place on July 16, 1976. Milani denied all accusations and his attorney filed a request to close down the investigation. The request was denied, and Prosecutor Virginia Miguel Carmona told press the case they have against him is “solid.”

The former Army Chief was also indicted in early March for allegedly being involved in the case of a military recruit, Alberto Agapito Ledo, who was disappeared in Tucumán Province on June 17, 1976.

Whenever a soldier was forcibly disappeared, the army tended to falsify the victim’s paperwork to cover their own backs, often using the euphemistic lie that the disappeared person or persons were “deserters” and went missing without a trace. In Ledo’s case, the man who declared him a “deserter.” Milani, a Second Lieutenant at the time, was allegedly the one signind the paperwork.]