Some 24 former military and political leaders from six South American countries were sentenced to life in prison by an Italian court in Rome on Monday for their participation in conspiracy to murder political opponents in each other's territories during the 1970's and 1980's.
Among those sentenced for their role in the so-called 'Operation Condor' included former President of Peru Francisco Morale Bermudez and former Chilean Deputy Intelligence Chief Pedro Espinoza Bravo. Prosecutors brought evidence that confirmed the deaths of at least 195 victims as part of the scheme, but some estimates range as high as 60,000.
Diego Ernesto Jimenez Guachalla, Bolivian Vice-minister of Justice and Fundamental Rights, explained the legacy that the case would leave on human rights in South America.
"It means that today it is possible to say to impunity will not happen and that it is possible to expect justice. For us it is a symbolic message for the new generations: we must build memory," he said.
The sentence comes after years of campaigning by victims' families.