Malvinas War Crimes / Registro en inglés BBC World Service / Radio

Malvinas War Crimes

Assignment looks at the continuing fallout from a war at the end of the world.

Twenty-seven years ago, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. Ten weeks later its largely conscript army had been defeated by a British task force sent to recapture the territory.

The plight of the young soldiers deployed to defend the islands was forgotten after the campaign. Within weeks, Argentina had rid itself of its military rulers and the invasion of the islands it calls the Malvinas, was something of an embarrassment.

But the claims of those young recruits are now being listened to and some of the officers who led the campaign are facing charges of war crimes, committed against their own troops.

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Argentina veterans divided over Falklands ‘abuse’ case

Seventy former Argentine army officers are accused of crimes against humanity for the alleged abuse, torture and, in one case, murder of their own troops during the 1982 war with Britain over the Falklands, or Malvinas, Islands. As the BBC’s Angus Crawford reports, the case has divided Argentina’s veteran community.

In 1982, Michael Savage was a student doing his military service, part of a force sent to invade the Falkland islands by the dictatorship then in power in Argentina.

One morning on patrol, his platoon came across a front line position.

“It was the coldest day of the war and, in the white snow, we saw a soldier staked to the ground, he was dying,” he said.

I asked him who was responsible for staking out the young man.

He told me it was his own corporal.

During his time on the island he saw many of the conscripts treated in the same way.

But wait, there’s more!

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The Other Side: An Argentine Conscript

Sunday Herald / 25 th Anniversary April 2007

‘We were forced to make trips to Stanley to pilfer supplies we knew were there, but weren’t reaching us. When we became too weak to even do that we would spend most of the day sleeping in our dugouts’

The Other Side: An Argentine Conscript’s Story. By Andrew McLeod

MICHAEL SAVAGE considers himself a lucky man. Having survived the Falklands war physically unscathed, he is today happily married with a young family, living a peaceful life in the depths of the Argentine Pampas. But he has made his own luck, laying his ghosts to rest by reaching out to the people whose land he once occupied, and he has seen this friendship graciously accepted and returned.

Some of his friends have been less lucky. They, like Savage, would never have been a soldier by choice. He finds it hard to believe that a quarter of a century has gone by since he found himself huddled with hundreds of other Argentine conscripts aboard a transport aircraft heading for the Falkland Islands (or Malvinas, as they knew them). They had been told to prepare for war, but rumour had it that they would be based in Río Gallegos to cover for regular troops taking part in the invasion. The first Savage knew for sure that he was to go to war himself was when the conscripts were guided across the tarmac towards a huge Hercules C-130. “Yes, this is it, you are going,” they were told.

But wait, there’s more!

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The Scotsman´s article 20th anniversary – April 2002

‘You never get over it, but I have a double problem. I was fighting against Brits, people who were as good as family’

By Sophie Arie

In their peaceful home in the depths of the Argentine pampas, Michael Savage and his family eat mint sauce with their lamb and then tuck into apple crumble for dessert. Their home is uncannily British, right down to the tea cosy. Only the barebacked horses roaming freely in the garden remind you this is Argentina.
Two shaggy-haired Highland cattle stare down from a painting above the mantelpiece. And on one wall there is a photo of Savage’s grandmother – whose British parents emigrated to Argentina when it was a land of hope and prosperity early last century – posing proudly in a kilt and beret.

But wait, there’s more!

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