Omar Graffigna

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Omar Graffigna
Omar Graffigna.JPG
Born (1926-04-02) April 2, 1926 (age 90)
Clarke, Santa Fe Province[1]
Nationality Argentine
Title Commander of the Argentine Air Force
Term January 26, 1979 — December 17, 1981
Predecessor General Orlando Ramón Agosti
Successor General Basilio Lami Dozo

Omar Domingo Rubens Graffigna (born April 2, 1926) is a former Argentine Air Force officer who served in the second military junta of the National Reorganization Process dictatorship. Alongside Basilio Lami Dozo and Reynaldo Bignone he is one of the last surviving (as of 2016) members of the dictatorship. On 8 September 2016 he was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment for crimes during the dictatorship.

Life and times[edit]

Graffigna was born in rural Clarke, Santa Fe Province. He graduated from the School of Military Aviation, and became Chief of Staff of the Argentine Air Force after the March 1976 coup. He initiated the Cóndor missile program during his tenure as Air Force Chief of Staff, and in 1978, the Cóndor I sounding rocket was converted into a tactical missile, albeit without a sophisticated guidance system.[2]

He succeeded General Orlando Agosti as Commander of the Air Force in January 1979, and continued Agosti's policy of having the post serve as a moderating counterweight to the hard-line Navy stance. Graffigna was a vocal advocate of the Dirty War, however, stating in December 1979 that "in a dangerously disoriented world, destiny has given us only one option: to be part of the spiritual reserve of the West." [3]

Trials and imprisonment[edit]

Graffigna was indicted for kidnapping, torture, robbery, invasion of property and forgery of public documents during the historic Trial of the Juntas in 1985. His case benefited from a ruling during the sentencing phase of the trial that punishment should be determined by the relative roles of each branch of the Argentine Armed Forces in each case, thereby lessening sentences for the Air Force commanders on trial. Graffigna and his successor, General Basilio Lami Dozo, were acquitted of all charges.[4]

In 2003 Graffigna was ordered arrested again by Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral pursuant to a request for his extradition to Spain by Judge Baltazar Garzón on the charge of crimes against humanity.[5]

Prime Minister José María Aznar of Spain decided that extraditions to Spain of those implicated in crimes during the Argentine dictatorship were now unwarranted, as Argentina had repealed an amnesty absolving those involved of responsibility for crimes, so that they could now be dealt with in Argentina. In 2005, however, the Supreme Court of Spain annulled the Prime Minister's decision and ordered that extradition proceedings begin.[6] Graffigna and Lami Dozo unsuccessfully petitioned the Argentine Federal Court for a habeas corpus ruling for what they maintained was a lack of jurisdiction on the part of Spanish courts.[5]

On 8 September 2016 Graffigna was sentenced in Argentina to 25 years' imprisonment for the abduction and torture of the married couple Patricia Roisinblit and José Manuel Pérez Rojo in 1978 by the air force's Buenos Aires Regional Intelligence (RIBA). Roisinblit was 8 months pregnant; her child was born and given to air force intelligence operative Francisco Gómez (sentenced to 12 years in prison for his part) and his wife Teodora Jofre to raise as their own. Rosinblit and Pérez Rojo were never seen again. Luis Trillo, the head of RIBA, was sentenced to 25 years for the murder.[7] Before sentencing Graffigna made no reference to the crimes, but said that he had behaved in an entirely professional way in the last six years of his career.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reseña Histórica de Carrizales (Clarke) (Spanish)
  2. ^ Argentina: Missile Chronology
  3. ^ McSherry, J. Patrice. Incomplete transition: military power and democracy in Argentina. St. Martin's Press, 1997.
  4. ^ Ciancaglini, Sergio, and Granovsky, Martín. Nada más que la verdad: el juicio a las juntas. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1995.
  5. ^ a b Clarín (13 Apr 2006) (Spanish)
  6. ^ La Nación (Spanish)
  7. ^ Uki Goñi (9 September 2016). "Ex-head of Argentina air force sentenced in 1978 abduction of activist couple". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 September 2016. 
  8. ^ "Lesa humanidad: condenan a Graffigna y a Trillo a 25 años de prisión" [Crimes against Humanity: Graffigna and Trillo sentenced to 25 years in prison]. Clarín (in Spanish). 8 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Orlando Ramón Agosti
Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine Air Force
1979 – 1981
Succeeded by
Basilio Lami Dozo