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THE PINOCHET CASE
aka LE CAS PINOCHET
USA: First Run Icarus Films
Director: Patricio Guzman
Countries: Belgium / Chile / France / Spain
Language: English / Spanish
USA: 109 mins
USA Release Date: 13 September 2002 (Limited Release)
THE PINOCHET CASE is a documentary on the Chilean president Augusto Pinochet, the general who overthrew President Salvador Allende of Chile on 11 September, 1973. While he was vacationing in London during September 1998, which had included visiting the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, he suddenly began experiencing back pain and underwent an operation in a London hospital. When he came round after the operation he was promptly arrested by the London police.
THE PINOCHET CASE investigates the legal origins of the case in Spain - where it began two years before Pinochet's arrest. With the film's protagonists, among them the prosecutor Carlos Castressana who filed the charges, and Judge Baltasar Garzón, who upheld them and issued the arrest warrant for Pinochet for his crimes against humanity during his dictatorship. The documentary explores how a small group of people in Madrid, Spain, laid the groundwork for this incredible feat - of how for the first time a dictator was humbled by the international justice system since the Nuremberg trials - and also follows the workings of the British legal system.