January 3, 2024
Amnesty International welcomes the indictment filed by the North Central Regional Prosecutor’s Office against three current and former senior commanders of Carabineros de Chile, for their alleged role in the repressive response, which was disproportionate and contrary to international law, of mass protests that took place in Chile in late 2019.
The indictment was brought against the current Director General of Carabineros, Ricardo Yáñez, who served as director of Order and Security during the 2019 protests; Mario Rozas, former Director General of the institution; and Diego Olate, a retired general and former Deputy Director, for their alleged responsibility as senior commanders of the institution. Amnesty International considers this development a step towards justice for the grave and widespread human rights violations committed during the response to the protests.
“The indictment of Ricardo Yáñez for his possible responsibility in the crime of omission over unlawful coercion resulting in serious injury and homicide, and other senior Carabineros commanders, is a vital measure to move forward in the fight against impunity for senior officials in Chile, which has been entrenched for decades, and in favor of justice for thousands of victims,” said Rodrigo Bustos, executive director of Amnesty International Chile.
Amnesty International contributed background information to this investigation, regarding the widespread violation of the right to physical integrity that occurred between 18 October and 30 November 2019, documented in the report Chile: Eyes on Chile: Police violence and command responsibility during the period of social unrest.
In particular, this report evidenced how, through tacit orders or deliberate omissions, different Carabineros commanders – including the current General Director and then-Director of Order and Security – appear to have implemented a strategy to silence the protests, including the indiscriminate and improper use of shotguns loaded with highly dangerous ammunition, leaving thousands of people wounded and more than 400 people with eye injuries.
We reiterate that justice not only means prosecuting those who pulled the trigger but also those who gave the orders or did not do what was necessary to prevent the grave human rights violations that were taking place in the country.Rudrigo Bustos, Executive Director of Amnesty International Chile
“The indictment of several Carabineros commanders and former commanders, whose decisions appear to have been to accept thousands of injuries and the hundreds of disabilities as a necessary evil to end the protests, has the potential to open a new era in the fight against impunity and the non-repetition of human rights violations in Chile. We hope the indictment hearing will be followed by the prosecution and trial of all those responsible for the suffering of thousands, with all the guarantees of due process and fair trials to fully uphold the victim’s rights to truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition,” said Ana Piquer, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
“We reiterate that justice not only means prosecuting those who pulled the trigger but also those who gave the orders or did not do what was necessary to prevent the grave human rights violations that were taking place in the country. The formalization of the investigation announced today is a fundamental step that honors the struggle for the rights of all the victims during the social uprising. The entire chain of command must be held accountable for their actions and omissions in that difficult and transformative period of our recent history,” concluded Rodrigo Bustos.
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