Coalition Against Impunity

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The Coalition Against Impunity ( Spanish : Coalición contra la impunidad ) is a German association that, since its foundation in 1997, has been dedicated to the investigation and legal prosecution of human rights violations by the Argentine military dictatorship 1976–1983 .

It includes: the action center for the poor world in Tübingen , the country coordination group Argentina of Amnesty International , the human rights department of the Diakonisches Werk der EKD , the research and documentation center Chile-Latin America in Berlin, the Episcopal relief organization Misereor in Aachen, the Argentina groups in Germany, the ECCHR ( European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights ), the Nuremberg Human Rights Center , the Church Development Service of Bavaria , the Commission for Human Rights of the Association of Judges and Public Prosecutors and the Freiburg Lawyers Association, the Republican Lawyers Association eV The seat of the coalition against impunity is the human rights center in Nuremberg.

Hearing coalition in Berlin

The task and the goal of the coalition was and is that truth and justice be found for the Germans who disappeared, tortured and murdered during the Argentine military dictatorship 1976-1983 . With the legal power of the survivors and the family members of those who disappeared and murdered at the time, the coalition documented around 100 cases of disappeared and murdered Germans and people of German origin and reported the murder and enforced disappearance to German courts.


Esteban Cuya and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

The coalition began its work following a letter request from Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel in March 1997 to his Peruvian friend and former colleague Esteban Cuya in Nuremberg:

"With this letter we would like to ask the DIML (Documentation and Information Center for Human Rights in Latin America in Nuremberg) to make efforts or to give continuity to existing efforts aimed at enabling the German state to research the reasons for enforced disappearances and / or the execution of victims of state terrorism of German descent fulfills his obligation. This request is directly related to the efforts of the human rights organizations in Argentina to achieve the right to justice in each of the states whose citizens have suffered the horrors of the military dictatorship . The request extends to the efforts that are necessary to maintain the tasks of the non-governmental organizations . The conflict that the state-induced impunity creates in societies transcends borders and internationalizes the problem in a very cruel way. Peace and blessings! Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate). "

The coalition against impunity was then founded in Argentina , which, in close cooperation with Argentine human rights groups such as the German group of the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and comparable NGOs in France , Sweden , Italy and Spain, took over the representation of their nationals who had disappeared in Argentina. This transnational representation of interests was made possible by the increasing acceptance of the so-called world law principle .


The coalition has set itself the goal:

  • to bring justice and truth to the German citizens who disappeared, tortured and murdered in Argentina between 1976 and 1983;
  • to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations in accordance with national and international norms;
  • the further development of legal norms for the protection of human rights.

public relation

From the outset, the coalition's work against impunity has been based on two cornerstones supported by the whole coalition. The first was classic human rights work with education, documentation and press work. The coalition has developed several exhibitions on the military dictatorship in Argentina : It was not the earth that swallowed it , football and human rights and a life in solidarity with Latin America . The exhibitions were shown nationwide with great success and great response in the press. The coalition has informed about its work in regular, publicly published circulars. Witnesses were repeatedly invited to report publicly on the events of that time. In postcard campaigns, the responsible authorities were asked to finally fulfill their obligations and to work to punish the offenses committed against Germans abroad. The coalition's research into the scandalous conditions at the German embassy in Buenos Aires at the time, whose representatives had cooperated closely with the military, raised awareness of the connections between foreign policy and human rights.

Criminal charges

The second cornerstone of the work was legal work. Lawyers have worked in the coalition against impunity since the beginning . With the power of attorney from family members and as members of the coalition against impunity, you have legally represented the cases of the German disappeared and murdered and filed criminal charges before German courts. German criminal law is responsible for offenses that are committed by and against Germans abroad. The coalition has also scientifically secured its legal work through a legal opinion from the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg im Breisgau . The cases in which the coalition had sufficient evidence of the murder of German nationals in Argentina were the cases that led to international arrest warrants against the Argentine henchmen of the dictatorship, including the top of the junta itself. In 2001 and 2003, criminal complaints by the lawyers of the coalition, the Freiburg lawyers Roland Beckert and Konstantin Thun before the Nuremberg District Court , resulted in the Nuremberg Public Prosecutor Walter Grandpair obtaining six arrest warrants against senior Argentine officers for the murder of Elisabeth Käsemann and Klaus Zieschank . At the request of Grandpairs, the Nuremberg District Court on November 28, 2003 a. a. the extradition of the former Argentine President Jorge Videla , the ex-Admiral Emilio Massera , and the ex-General Guillermo Suárez Mason arranged.

The criminal complaint against Juan Tasselkraut , a former head of department at Mercedes-Benz in Argentina, for possible involvement in the disappearance of 14 of the company's trade unionists, was discontinued in 2004. It was submitted by the Berlin coalition lawyer, Wolfgang Kaleck , who had previously, in 1999, as chairman of the Republican Lawyers' Association (RAV), filed a criminal complaint against Daimler-Benz-Argentina for working with and extraditing union members to the Military had asked. Further criminal charges from Wolfgang Kaleck, which were filed for the disappearance of descendants of German-Jewish refugees, were also dropped. According to the Nuremberg public prosecutor's office, they can no longer be treated as Germans. There was also the legal problem: enforced disappearance was not codified as a criminal offense at the time the crime was committed.

In October 2006, the coalition against impunity initiated an enforcement procedure against 45 Argentine ex- military officers at the Nuremberg Higher Regional Court on behalf of nine relatives of German and German-born victims of the Argentine military dictatorship . Trials against the rulers and their henchmen began in Argentina in December 2009. The lawyers of the "Coalition Against Impunity" regularly take part in the negotiations as trial observers.


The coalition against impunity received the 9th Bremen Solidarity Prize in 2004 for its efforts to ensure truth and justice . The prize was accepted by the Nuremberg pastor Kuno Hauck and the Argentine human rights activist Elsa de Oesterheld . Former Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin gave the award speech .

See also

Web links


  • Roland Beckert: Additions to the Elisabeth Käsemann case. In: Konstantin Thun: Human Rights and Foreign Policy. Federal Republic of Germany-Argentina 1976–1983. updated new edition. Horlemann, Bad Honnef 2006, ISBN 3-89502-220-9 , pp. 15-21.
  • Esteban Cuya: The obvious sympathy of the German diplomats for the Argentine military dictatorship 1976-1983. In: Konstantin Thun: Human Rights and Foreign Policy. Federal Republic of Germany-Argentina 1976–1983. updated new edition. Horlemann, Bad Honnef 2006, ISBN 3-89502-220-9 , pp. 28-39.
  • Andreas Hediger, Michael Schaer: Truth and Justice in Argentina. How the German "Coalition Against Impunity" pursued Argentine human rights criminals from 1976–1983 with legal and political strategies. Licentiate thesis . Zumsteg Druck AG, Frick 2008, ISBN 978-3-033-01945-4 .
  • Kuno Hauck: The coalition against impunity. In: Konstantin Thun: Human Rights and Foreign Policy. Federal Republic of Germany-Argentina 1976–1983. updated new edition. Horlemann, Bad Honnef 2006, ISBN 3-89502-220-9 , pp. 11-14.
  • Wolfgang Kaleck: Fight against impunity. Argentina's military on trial. Wagenbach, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-8031-2646-7 .
  • Wolfgang Kaleck: The missing Mercedes-Benz trade unionists. In: Konstantin Thun: Human Rights and Foreign Policy. Federal Republic of Germany-Argentina 1976–1983. updated new edition. Horlemann, Bad Honnef 2006, ISBN 3-89502-220-9 , pp. 25-27.
  • Konstantin Thun: Additions to the Klaus Zieschank case. In: ders .: Human rights and foreign policy. Federal Republic of Germany-Argentina 1976–1983. updated new edition. Horlemann, Bad Honnef 2006, ISBN 3-89502-220-9 , pp. 22-24.
  • Frieder Wagner: The unbelievable failure of the German Embassy and the Foreign Office in Argentina during the military dictatorship from 1976-83. In: That you are silent for two days under torture! Book and DVD-Video in the library of resistance series, Laika-Verlag, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-942281-77-5 , pp. 53-76.
  • Coalition against Impunity circulars. Justicia y Verdad, Truth and Justice for the German Disappeared in Argentina.