Silence as a crime against humanity

14 September 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Everyone has the right to information. This is especially true when it concerns human rights violations; victims’ relatives have the right to know what happened to their loved ones. 

The law looks at the case from the other side: how can you prosecute someone for withholding such information? The silent suspect in the spotlight here is Jorge Zorreguieta, father of Princess Máxima, wife of the heir apparent to the Dutch throne.

Between 1976 and 1983, Argentina’s military dictatorship ‘disappeared’ tens of thousands of its political opponents. According to Amnesty International, around 30,000 people were murdered by the Videla regime and Jorge Zorreguieta was the regime’s deputy agriculture minister, later rising to agriculture minister. He has refused to say anything about what happened during the Dirty War, though many accuse him of knowing what was going on. His refusal to speak could land him in court next time he comes to the Netherlands to visit his daughter.

No statute of limitations

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