Belgrano relatives to sue UK

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The Independent Online

Britain may be on the verge of being sued by the relatives of 323 Argentine sailors who died when a British submarine sunk the battleship Belgrano during the 1982 Falkland's conflict.

Britain may be on the verge of being sued by the relatives of 323 Argentine sailors who died when a British submarine sunk the battleship Belgrano during the 1982 Falkland's conflict.

Two lawyers representing the families are set to present a case next Tuesday to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France over the demise of the Belgrano, whose sinking marked the turning point in the 10-week conflict and represented the single largest loss of life amid the nearly 1,000 deaths in the war.

Argentina has long argued that the Belgrano was sunk outside the British imposed exclusion zone and that the ship was sunk to scupper any chance of peace negotiations succeeding.

The Belgrano was torpedoed on May 2, 1982, by the British submarine HMS Conqueror as Argentina pushed its claim of sovereignty over the islands it calls the Malvinas. The 1,093 men on board went into the water 36 nautical miles outside of the 200-mile exclusion zone around the archipelago, which huddles at the toe of South America.

Former Argentine President Carlos Menem later questioned whether or not then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher should be extradited for the Belgrano "war crime."

Argentina and Britain restored diplomatic relations in 1990 and the rapport between the two has warmed in recent years. The Latin American nation still insists on its claim to the Falklands, which have been disputed since 1833.