Letter: Pinochet's rights

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Sir: Richard Mann (letter, 22 December) argues that "Amnesty should support the Law Lords' decision to have a second hearing" in the Pinochet case.

Indeed we do support the need for the judicial process to be both fair and seen to be fair, and that includes the right to challenge a judicial decision. The fact that the victims of crimes against humanity in Chile never received a fair hearing does not compromise in any way General Pinochet's absolute right to a fair and impartial trial.

Richard Mann is wrong, however, to suggest that Amnesty International is "another prosecution service". Amnesty International does not itself undertake private prosecutions, but it does urge governments and prosecuting authorities to investigate human rights abuses and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

Merely complaining about human rights abuses is not enough, as the appalling cycle of recent crimes in Central Africa and the former Yugoslavia tragically testifies.

Unless we end impunity for such abuses, what hope do we have of preventing future crimes against humanity?


Communications Director

Amnesty International UK

London EC1