December 10, 2017
The wheels of justice can grind exceedingly slow in places like Argentina, even when terrorism, mass murder and cover-ups at the highest level of government are involved.
But there’s a major development in the still-officially unsolved bombing of a 1994 Buenos Aires Jewish center in which 85 people were killed: A federal judge last week indicted ex-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for treason and asked Argentina’s Senate to lift her immunity from arrest and detention.
He based the charges on the investigation of Alberto Nisman, the crusading prosecutor found shot to death in 2015 just hours before he was to testify at a closed-door hearing and unveil a criminal case against Kirchner and her allies.
Nisman was to name a Lebanese Hezbollah operative acting with top-level Iranian support and direction as the main bomber.
And he was set to charge Kirchner and then-Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman with whitewashing Iran’s involvement in the attack in return for a lucrative secret trade deal involving Argentinian grain in return for Iranian oil.
Investigators appointed by Kirchner officially labeled Nisman’s death a suicide, but a new forensic investigation in September declared that he’d been murdered.
The Senate now has eight months to decide whether to lift Kirchner’s immunity — and the sad fact is that it probably won’t.
That’s because President Mauricio Macri, who supports the investigation, does not command a majority in the Senate. And some officials fear arresting Kirchner will only make her a left-wing martyr.
But the saddest fact of all is that, after nearly a quarter-century, no one has yet been successfully prosecuted for a deadly act of terror — or for the murder of a prosecutor who tried to bring those killers to justice.