This Friday Juan Guzmán Tapia passed away at 81 years old, Chilean lawyer and judge recognized for being the first to prosecute dictator Augusto Pinochet for crimes against humanity.
Guzmán served during his professional life in the Talca Court of Appeals, as well as in the Santiago Court of Appeals.
In relation to the investigation against Pinochet, He was appointed in 1998 to investigate multiple causes related to the “Caravan of Death.”
It should be noted that, outside of his life in the Judiciary, Guzmán served as dean of the Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences of the Central University of Chile between 2005 and 2008.
Also, in 2009 he ran as an independent senator candidate for the Valparaíso region, however, he only achieved 3.96% of the votes.
Entrevista con Deutsche Welle
In 2006, after the death of the dictator, Guzmán assured in an interview with German wave that Pinochet “was mentally impeccable until the end.”
The foregoing, in relation to the temporary dismissal decreed by the Supreme Court at that time, who argued that Pinochet lacked the proper mental faculties to stand trial.
“We were able to verify that Pinochet was mentally impeccable until the end. In ‘Operation Condor’, a chamber of the Court of Appeals revoked an indictment of mine, arguing that the Supreme Court had already ruled on his insanity, and that that insanity had effects in all cases, “he told DW.
Along these lines, he added: “There was the tenacity that is required on the part of the judges to take the first step, prosecute Pinochet, but there was no will from the members of the higher courts for a trial.. Pinochet was prosecuted, but not tried ”.
Guzmán, at that time, pointed out that the above was generated by a lack of political will. “Perhaps the members of the Supreme Court were not the right ones. At times, ambition operates more than a vocation for service and a vocation for justice ”, he declared.
“If Pinochet had been insane, I would have shared the decision of the Supreme Court. But having seen Pinochet, having seriously studied the medical reports, according to the experience of an ancient judge on the matter, I could not help but estimate that he was with his normal mental faculties “, he assured.
In the interview, Guzmán was consulted by the German state company about whether Pinochet was aware of what the dictatorship was and the crimes that took place in it.
In this regard, he pointed out on the occasion that “his conscience was absolute, but he never personally assumed responsibility for the crimes. On both occasions, he excused himself saying that if there were crimes, there were them by his inferiors. And that in the Army obviously does not work. More taking into account that he was head of the Army and head of the DINA, the service of the Armed Forces that was destined for repression, and the repression involved torture, deaths and forced disappearances. So, in reality, he could not dissociate himself from the crimes.
“Yes, he was aware of what the dictatorship had meant, that there had been notable violations of human rights. But, he justified them. Not openly, but he justified them as all Pinochet supporters justify them to this day. He thought that the dictatorship had been useful and necessary, and he never stopped thinking that way, “he argued in those years.
Guzmán’s death was reportedly confirmed by his family.