Julio Cesar Strassera: Lawyer who prosecuted the leaders of Argentina's junta and was celebrated for saying 'never again' in court

Strassera went on represent Argentina at the UN Commission on Human Rights and related international organisations

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The Independent Online

Julio Cesar Strassera was a prosecutor who won convictions against some of the leaders of Argentina's dictatorship and coined the term "Nunca mas", or "Never again", in relation to the period of brutal repression. Strassera was celebrated for his role in the 1985 trial and convictions of several military leaders responsible for the disappearance of several thousand people on their watch.

"Your honours, I want to use a phrase that does not belong to me, because it belongs to all Argentine people," Strassera said during closing statements in the case. "Your honours, 'Never again.'" Strassera had presented 709 cases to the presiding tribunal, of which 280 were heard, and 833 witnesses testified, including a former president, General Alejandro Lanusse, and the writer Jorge Luis Borges. The defendants were narrowed down to the nine leading members of the junta.

The case, coming less than two years Argentina had returned to democracy in 1983, had particular resonance in Latin America, where several countries were emerging from military dictatorships in the 1980s. Former de facto presidents Jorge Rafael Videla and Roberto Viola, along with other military leaders, received prison sentences of varying lengths.

Strassera went on represent Argentina at the UN Commission on Human Rights and related international organisations, but when the guilty men were pardoned by President Menem Strassera resigned from his government posts and joined the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, one of the leading non-governmental human rights organisations in Argentina.

Julio Cesar Strassera, lawyer: born Buenos Aires 18 September 1933; died Buenos Aires 27 February 2015.

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