Ex-Argentina pres Carlos Menem guilty of arms trade

Former Argentine President (1989-1999) Carlos Menem (C) listening to his sentence during his trial in Buenos Aires on September 13, 2011.

FORMER Argentine president Carlos Menem has been convicted of orchestrating arms smuggling while in office.

The Appeals Court on Friday issued a guilty verdict against the 82-year-old Menem, who ruled from 1989 to 1999, for the smuggling of 6500 tonnes of weapons and ammunition to Croatia and Ecuador.

His then defence minister, Oscar Camilion, was also convicted.
Menem was initially acquitted of the charges in 2011 along with more than a dozen other defendants, but prosecutors appealed.

The appeals court convicted Menem of "aggravated smuggling", which carries a sentence of four to 12 years in jail.

Menem is now a senator and thus in theory has immunity from imprisonment. But he could be incarcerated after his term ends in 2014, or if he is stripped of this legal shield.

Weapons were sent to Croatia in seven shipments aboard freighters between 1991 and 1995. At the time much of the Balkans was under a UN arms embargo following the break up of Yugoslavia.

More arms were sent to Ecuador aboard three flights in February 1995.

At the time, Ecuador was engaged in a border war with Peru, and Argentina was banned from selling weapons to either side as one of the guarantors of a peace agreement the two nations signed ending an earlier war in 1942.

Source http://www.news.com.au/world-news/ex-argentina-pres-carlos-menem-guilty-of-arms-trade/story-fndir2ev-1226593650748


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