Pinochet fit to stand trial

“Pinochet seemed lucid, balanced and had very clear long- and short-term memory,” said the sources quoting from the report prepared by four Legal Medical Services physicians.

General Pinochet had so far avoided trial for the more than 3,000 murders committed during his rule.

His lawyers have claimed he is suffering dementia, the only condition that can avoid trial.

On September 14, Chile’s Supreme Court ruled that General Pinochet’s immunity as a former president could be withdrawn in the case of “Operation Colombo.”

One hundred and 19 members of the militant Revolutionary Leftist Movement went missing in July 1975 and whose bodies turned up in other Latin American countries.

More tests

Investigating judge Victor Montiglio ordered that a psychiatrist and two neurologists examine the former dictator and submit a report, which was completed on November 2.

The medical examinations established that although Pinochet suffers from a degenerative disease, it would not impede him from participating in his own defence, according to the sources.

Judge Montiglio ordered the exams as step prior to a possible interrogation and trial of General Pinochet.

Psychiatrist Martin Cordero, who delivered the exam to the judge and who had participated in previous examinations of General Pinochet, was quoted as saying he “found Mr. Pinochet a little better than the previous examination.”

Judge Carlos Cerda, who questioned General Pinochet on Tuesday, said, “I found that he was well as a person and as a human being, which bodes well for the investigation.”

Judge Cerda questioned General Pinochet for more than three hours about secret bank accounts in the United States and in other countries where he had deposited nearly US$27 million.

Pinochet allegations

General Pinochet lives in Santiago’s elegant La Dehesa neighborhood and has several other homes in Chile.

A US Senate investigation found that Pinochet had stashed millions of dollars in a Washington bank, and in other banks under assumed names.

Chilean prosecutors are investigating whether Pinochet embezzled state funds and are examining whether he evaded paying income taxes.

General Pinochet avoided trial for the murders of 75 persons shortly after the September 11, 1973 coup, in the “Caravan of Death,” as soldiers roamed the country executing suspected regime opponents.

He also used medical excuses to avoid trial in “Operation Condor,” in which military regimes in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay collaborated in tracking down opponents, killing them, and spiriting their bodies away to each others’ countries in the 1970s and 1980s.

In the present case, some of the 119 bodies turned up in Brazil and
Argentina.