On January 3, 2024, a significant legal move occurred in Santiago, Chile. A regional prosecutor filed charges against three high-ranking officers of the Carabineros de Chile, both current and former. They are accused of contributing to the suppression of the large-scale protests in Chile in 2019. The upcoming indictment hearing should lead to a thorough prosecution and trial of everyone involved in causing widespread suffering. This process must ensure due process and a fair trial to fully respect the victims’ rights. These rights include access to truth, justice, reparation, and the assurance of non-repetition of such events.
NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.
Amnesty International welcomes the recent legal action taken by Chile’s North Central Regional Prosecutor’s Office. This action involves indicting three high-ranking officials, both current and former, of the Carabineros de Chile (Chilean police force). They are accused of playing a significant role in the illegal crackdown on the 2019 mass protests in Chile.
Background of the Protests and Police Violence
The protests, which began on October 18, 2019, led to widespread police violence, leaving many victims. Notably, hundreds suffered eye injuries caused by buckshot fired by Carabineros officers. Amnesty International conducted a thorough one-year investigation into these incidents, culminating in the release of their critical report titled “Eyes on Chile: Command Responsibility and Police Violence during the Period of Social Unrest.” The organization has been at the forefront of a global campaign, urging the Chilean Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the accountability of high-level commanders. These commanders, believed to include the Director General and the director of Order and Security at the time, are accused of either explicitly or implicitly allowing human rights abuses.
The Indictment and Its Significance
In January 2024, the Prosecutor’s Office brought charges against Ricardo Yáñez, the current Director General who was the director of Order and Security during the protests; Mario Rozas, the former Director General; and Diego Olate, a retired general and ex-Deputy Director. Their indictment is linked to their alleged leadership roles in the police force during this period.
Amnesty International views this legal development as a crucial step towards achieving justice for the severe human rights violations that occurred in response to the protests. The organization commits to closely following the progress of this case, including the upcoming indictment hearing scheduled for May 7.