July 29, 2010 / 12:12 AM / in 8 years

Argentina identifies junta victims

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Two bodies dug up in Argentina have been identified as a French activist and his Mexican girlfriend who disappeared during the country’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship, President Cristina Fernandez said on Wednesday.

Activists Yves Domergue and Cristina Cialceta were 22 and 20 respectively when they disappeared during a state-sponsored crackdown on leftist dissent in which rights groups say some 30,000 people were killed.

Fernandez said 120 bodies dating from the so-called Dirty War had now been identified by a non-government body dedicated to investigating cases of people who disappeared during the dictatorship.

“There are still 700 more to identify ... I urge all those Argentines who had disappeared relatives to come forward. Just a few drops of blood are needed,” she said during a speech at the presidential palace.

Argentine forensics officials exhumed the couple’s bodies last year and they were officially identified earlier this month. Their remains, which bore the signs of gunshot wounds, were found in a rural area in Santa Fe province.

“The executioners did not think bones would talk 34 years later,” said Eric Domergue, Yves’ brother. “Disappearance is worse than death for family members ... but now I’m relieved we have found him.”

Under Fernandez’s husband and predecessor, former President Nestor Kirchner, Argentine courts and Congress scrapped pardons granted for military personnel involved in human rights crimes during the dictatorship.

Editing by Helen Popper and Eric Walsh

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