Students Staff

26 March 2010

Calling international banks to account over human rights violations

Colchester Campus

Dr Clara Sandoval

Experts from the University of Essex have intervened in a legal case to call for an investigation of the role of banks in financing grave human rights violations during the dictatorship in Argentina.

This would be one of the only cases looking directly at the accountability of international banks in facilitating the serious crimes which took place against the civil population between 1976 and 1983.

The third party intervention, or Amicus Curiae, has been presented before a judge in Buenos Aires. It was prepared by the University’s Transitional Justice Network and Business and Human Rights Project in collaboration with the most important non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Argentina, the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS).

Dr Clara Sandoval, from the University’s School of Law and Human Rights Centre, explained: ‘We are urging the court to order the country’s authorities to release relevant information, so that effective investigations of all those responsible for the commission of gross human rights violations during the dictatorship can take place.

‘The information is essential to determine which international banks, and to what extent, were responsible for facilitating the commission of grave human rights violations against the civil population.’

Dr Sandoval added: ‘It is very likely that the international commercial banks are responsible for aiding and abetting in the commission of such crimes. It is the conclusion of the Amicus that the banks failed to exercise due diligence in making the loans they did, and are therefore liable for the forseeable consequences of their actions.’

A seminar on the issue was held at the University on 24 March to mark human rights day in Argentina, and the intervention was filed with the court in Buenos Aires yesterday.

Notes to Editors

The Amicus Curiae is presented before the Juzgado Civil y Comercial Federal no 7 Sec 14 in the case of Ibañez Manuel Leandro and others.

For further information please contact Clara Sandoval or Sabine Michalowski from the School of Law via the Communications Office on 01206 872400.

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