Friday, April 25, 2008

Follow-Up: the Argentina Adoption Case

In February, an Argentine couple and a military officer were being tried in court for falsifying papers and adopting the baby of a couple who were disappeared (see here). The case was unique in a number of ways, including the fact that the adopted child had taken the parents to court, and that it was the first time that a case involving illegal adoption of the babies of the "disappeared" in Argentina had arrived to the courts.

Well, verdicts came down yesterday. Osvaldo Rivas and Maria Cristina Gomez, the parents, were found guilty and sentenced to 8 and 7 years prison, respectively, while the military officer who arranged the adoption, Capt. Enrique Berthier, received a 10-year sentence. As I commented in February, this case was and is unprecedented, and has set a new legal precedent for the adopted children of the disappeared (estimated to be 400 or so, with 90 having already discovered who their birth-parents were). I doubt every one of those 400 (and maybe none) will take their parents to court (as the article points out, civil cases can lead to criminal charges in Argentina). As for this particular case, I'm glad the army captain was sentenced for what he did, and if Sampallo wanted her adopted parents in court for their deeds, that's her prerogative. I don't know what the parents' intentions were when they adopted, but this is definitely a complicated scenario, and I wonder if it will really repeat itself that much more in Argentina.