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A poster calling for a demonstration against the passing of the law.

Ley de Punto Final (Spanish, roughly translated Full Stop Law) was a law passed by the National Congress of Argentina after the end of the military dictatorship of the Proceso de Reorganización Nacional (which started with a coup d'état in 1976 and ended in 1983). Formally, this law is referred to by number (Law No. 23492), like all others in Argentine legislation, but Ley de Punto Final is the only designation in common use, even in official speeches. [1]

The law dictates the end of investigation and prosecution against people accused of political violence during the dictatorship, up to the restoration of democratic rule on 10 December 1983. It was passed on 24 December 1986, after only a 3-week debate. Its text is very short; it has seven articles. Article No. 5 excepts from the application of the law the cases of identity forgery and forced disappearance of minors.

The Ley de Punto Final was extremely controversial in its time and afterwards. It was proposed by the Radical administration of President Raúl Alfonsín as a means to stop the escalation of trials against military and others, after the Trial of the Juntas had dealt with the top of the military hierarchies. In the Chamber of Deputies, 114 deputies voted for the law, 17 against, and 2 abstained; in the Senate, 25 senators voted for, and 10 against.

This law had a complement in the Ley de Obediencia Debida (Law of Due Obedience), which exempted subordinates from accusation when they were carrying out orders. These two laws were repealed by the National Congress in 2003, and then definitely voided as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Justice on 14 June 2005. This allowed for the re-opening of cases that involved crimes against humanity. The first of such cases, which involved the former Buenos Aires Provincial Police second-in-command Miguel Etchecolatz, ended in September 2006 and laid down jurisprudence by acknowledging that the dictatorship's state terrorism was a form of genocide. [2] [3]

See also


  1. ^ Law 23492 - Full text of the Ley de Punto Final.
  2. ^ BBC News, 13 August 2003. Argentina overturns amnesty laws.
  3. ^ BBC News, 21 August 2003. Argentina scraps amnesty laws.


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