Italy’s highest criminal court, the Court of Cassation, has upheld the extradition of Rev. Franco Reverberi, an Italian priest wanted by Argentina for alleged involvement in murders and tortures during its 1976-1983 military dictatorship. This decision confirms a prior verdict from a Bologna appeals court.
Arturo Salerni, representing Argentina, stated that Italian Justice Minister Carlo Nordio has 45 days to finalize the extradition process for the 86-year-old Reverberi. The priest, who acted as a military chaplain during Argentina’s dictatorship, is accused of facilitating the 1976 murder of 22-year-old José Guillermo Berón and collaborating in the torture of several men in San Rafael, near Mendoza, Argentina.
Salerni emphasized the significance of the verdict, saying, “This decision affirms a universal jurisdiction on the violations of human rights.” Reverberi, born in Sorbolo in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, emigrated to Argentina at age 7. He returned to Italy in 2011 when evidence implicating him in crimes against humanity during the dictatorship era emerged.
Human rights advocates estimate that up to 30,000 individuals were either killed or went missing during Argentina’s military dictatorship.