We’re not sure what’s more fascinating: the fact that a trial took 18 years to reach a conclusion or that despite the trial’s final ruling, the culprit is still free.
Former President and current senator Carlos Menem was charged for gun trafficking to Ecuador and Croatia in 1995. In 2013, Menem was proven guilty before the Oral Economic Criminal Court.
Yet he refused to go to prison, and appealed to the Court’s sentence. The case was then taken on by the Federal Chamber of Criminal Appeal which gave Menem another four years of freedom.
Last night, the Federal Chamber of Criminal Appeal confirmed his seven-year sentence once again. Technically, Menem should be looking at seven years in prison. But it would be naïve to think justice won and all is well in the world.
Menem is nowhere close to accepting defeat; his next move is to appeal to the Supreme Court. Which means we’re looking at another trial, and who knows how long this one will take?
Carlos Menem’s impunity is in large due to the legislative powers protecting him. We just cracked the secret to immortality: get invested in Argentine politics.
Condenado a prisión
Se nos cagan de risa
Río tercero 100 víctimas
Pasó hace 20 años
Recién lo condenan
Pero apelará a la corte
— Gustavo frondizi (@GFrondizi) June 21, 2017
The senator is to continue his term until the 10th of December, and until then, he has parliamentary privileges that prevent his detention. Not to mention, last week Menem confirmed he would be running for a third term as Senator of La Rioja.
However, not all hope is lost. Given the hypothetical situation that Menem’s appellation is denied by the Supreme Court, then the decision reached by the Federal Chamber of Criminal Appeal would be final.
If the situation were to advance in this way, then Menem would be put under arrest —probably domiciliary arrest — along with the loss of all parliamentary privileges, and his rights to engage in commercial activity would be striped for three years. Finally, he would be barred the right to take on any responsibilities as a civil servant for the next 14 years (keep in mind he is 86 years old). In other words, come the end of December, he wouldn’t be running for Senator.
The trials’ investigations unveiled gun deals with Croatia — at the time the country was at war with Former-Yugoslavia — during an international weapon embargo. As well as weapon deals which fueled Ecuador’s violent conflict with Peru. A total of 6,500 tons of weapons and ammunition were sold to Ecuador and Croatia.
To eliminate all kinds of evidence, the administration decided to cause an explosion in Cordoba’s Military Factory. The explosion killed seven people and badly injured 300.
Nothing has been defined yet. Menem has only expressed his desire to appeal to the Supreme Court. Either way, it is clear we have come across yet another case proving the flaws surrounding Argentina’s Justice System.