Updates on The Judge and the General

Posted on September 27, 2011

The award winning documentary The Judge and the General  recently broadcast on Global Voices and is currently streaming on PBS.org through October 9. BTB recently caught up with filmmaker Elizabeth Farnsworth for an update.

The Judge and the General reveals the transformation of Judge Juan Guzmán in Chile as he is assigned by judicial lottery to investigate the first criminal cases filed against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. An international detective story, the film follows the judge as he uncovers the truth about the regime he had supported.

BTB recently caught up with filmmaker Elizabeth Farnsworth, who gave us the following updates since the film first broadcast in 2008:

Judge Juan Guzmán, now an arbitrator and criminal defense lawyer in Santiago, is active in the campaign to replace the current Pinochet-era constitution with a new, more democratic charter. He is currently writing a book about the subject with a group of constitutional law scholars. He has taught human rights law in Chile and at universities around the world and will lecture at Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. He has received many awards and honors, including, most recently, an honorary doctorate from Haverford. In 2009, Judge Victor Montiglio indicted 135 members of Augusto Pinochet’s security forces for the murder of Cecilia Castro and others in related cases. Trials are pending. 

On August 18, 2011, the Valech Commission delivered a second report to the president of Chile, detailing its continuing investigation of torture under the rule of Augusto Pinochet. This report confirmed 9,800 cases; earlier reports had confirmed another 28,000. This means that at least 37,800 people were tortured by Augusto Pinochet’s security forces. Co-Director/Producer Patricio Lanfranco recently reported that Chile has been convulsed by massive street demonstrations. Students have been striking for more than two months over environmental, educational, and constitutional issues, among others. 

Polls show 80 percent of the population supports their demands. For more information and updates on the film, visit the filmmakers’ website (available in English and Spanish): westwindproductions.org For an update in English on the current status of cases involving human rights crimes under the regime of General Augusto Pinochet, click here >>

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