Ex-ICC judge to advise Argentinian Jews on AMIA bombing panel


BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — A former International Criminal Court prosecutor will advise the Argentinian Jewish community on the joint commission formed by Argentina and Iran on the 1994 AMIA bombing.

Luis Gabriel Moreno Ocampo will help DAIA, the Argentinean Jewish political umbrella, to supervise the memorandum that the Argentinian government signed a week ago with Iran.

Moreno Ocampo told the country’s Jewish leaders to invite representatives of AMIA and victims’ relatives to agree on one voice and one legal opinion about the memorandum and its consequences.

News of his hiring was leaked on Saturday night. Jewish leaders told JTA that Moreno Ocampo will meet the representatives of DAIA on Feb. 14

In recent days, AMIA and DAIA have clashed over the agreement. AMIA originally rejected the agreement, then accepted, now rejects it.

“You can’t change your mind three times in 72 hours,” Waldo Wolff, vice president of DAIA, told journalists during a public confrontation between DAIA and one of the institutions it represents.

When the announcement of the memorandum was made Jan. 27, AMIA President Guillermo Borger opposed because “we don’t trust Iran.”

Two days later, however, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman met at the AMIA building with the heads of AMIA, DAIA and victims’ families to explain the agreement signed with Iran that would create a truth commission allowing judges to question Iran’s suspects in Tehran, and afterward Borger expressed satisfaction with the agreement. Last Friday, however, he again rejected it.

The pact to jointly probe the bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community center, which killed 85 and injured hundreds, was signed by Timerman and his Iranian counterpart in Ethiopia on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa. The parliaments of both countries must ratify the agreement, which creates the commission consisting of five independent judges, none from either Argentina or Iran.

Meanwhile, a survey released Sunday reveals that most Jews in Buenos Aires and its environs do not support the agreement. Some 85 percent of the respondents said they believe that the agreement was made to satisfy economic interests and not to find justice, another 76 percent “strongly disagree” or “disagree” that the suspects will be interrogated in Tehran. Another 71 percent judged the memorandum to be a setback.

The poll was conducted by the Argentinian research firm Poliarquia for the La Nacion newspaper.

“The survey results show that there is a divergence between the position of the Jewish community at large and a certain section of its leadership, which is more likely to accept the negotiations with Iran and appear close to the national government,” Alejandro Caterberg, director of Poliarquia, told La Nacion.¨

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