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DECEMBER 17, 1998   9:15 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Amnesty International
 
Amnesty International's Position On The Decision By The House Of Lords To Open A New Hearing On The Pinochet Case
 
LONDON - December 17 - The right to challenge an unfavorable judicial decision is a key element of a fair and impartial legal process. When Lord Hoffmann's role as director of Amnesty International Charity Ltd, which operates independently of Amnesty International Ltd., came to the attention of the media last week, Amnesty International stressed that Lord Hoffmann's charity activities are a matter of public record and that any concerns regarding the possible appearance of bias should be addressed to the House of Lords.

Amnesty International fully supports the need for the judicial process to be fair, independent and impartial. Following today's decision by the House of Lords, Amnesty International will again seek to provide information to the court on the standards and requirements of international law which provide that there is no immunity for any person, including a former head of state, for torture or crimes against humanity.

The legal proceeding should be permitted to take its course, so that a court of law can establish in a fair trial whether Augusto Pinochet is guilty or innocent of crimes against humanity committed during the military government in Chile.

Amnesty International continues to urge all states to fulfill their obligation to investigate and bring to justice those accused of torture or crimes against humanity.

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