CHILE: WHAT KIND OF TRIALS FOR THE LEFTIST HIERARCHY?

Created: 4/10/1974

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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Whatrlala For The Leftist Hierarchy?

igh-ranking officials of the Allende regime and other prominent leftist prisoners of the military government were not among the eighty or so leftist militants recently tried before military courts. The government continues to prepare its case against the Dawaon inland detainees, however, and eventually to bring most, if not all, of them to trial. Judicial proceedings against acme of the leftistcould begin within the month, but trails for the bulk of the most notable prisoners are likely to be delayed until the regime decides which type of court will have jurisdiction.

Most of the Dawson prisoners wero incarcerated on the morning of the military takeover. They will, therefore, be charged with offenses allegedly committed prior to the coup and the junta's declarations of states of siege and internal war. These offenses fall into two mainhose normally tried in civil courts, such as misuse of public funds, and those which, even under normal circumstances, would come under the jurisdiction of military courts.

Violations of the arms control law and subversion of the armedlikely to be leveledumber of the Dawsonamong the offenses normally tried ln,mllitary courts. Here the juriedlctional question involves the type of military court that will handle the caaea. Normally they would be tried in military tribunals under peacetime provisions of the military justice code that provide for appeal to the (civil) Supremender the states of siege and war, however. Wartime provisions of the code come into effect. The peacetime military tribunals give way to wartime military courts martial and the only right of appeal is to higher military authority.

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Decree Lawf3 construes Articlef the Code of Military Justice to hold that cases under military jurisdiction initiatedhe declarationtate of siege are' the province of the wartime courts martial. This appears to mean that at least some of the Dawson prisoners can be tried by the wartime courts martial even though their offenses allegedly were committed prior to the coup.

ajor contentionemorandum preaented to the governmentroup of moderate Chilean lawyers

! last January waa that legal norma hold that thc dato the offense is committed rather than the date of the initiation of judicial proceedings against the defendant is the operative factor in doterming jurisdictional

!issues. The majority of Chilean lawyer* do not appear to regard the matter as particularly aignifleant,and seem to have allowed political considerations to color their legal views. The Supreme Court hasitself incompetent to review the rulings of the wartime courts martial, but it has not directlythe jurisdictional issuo.

The government still appears to be havinghow to proceed against its moat Difficultiesbeing encounter-

ed in breaking down cortauiacTTvTtTes intoand military-related ofmisusefunds to procure arms illegally. Theintends to let civil courts handlebefore or since theis'! iy-

The government probably will continue toeliberately while key jurisdictional issues are sorted out. The nature and extont of the procedural aafeguards to be made available to the defendanta before and at

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may also be In queatlon. Tho governmentwill take International public opinion into account in planning for the triela but thia la unlikely to be an overriding coneideraclcn. The junta will not eaally be awayed by arguments that the juridical measures It considers necessary and proper under what It seesontinuing emergency situation do not measure up to internationally accepted standarda.

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