The bombing of AMIA, Buenos Aires’ Jewish Community Centre on 18th July 1994 shook the city to its core, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds. The events that occurred that day resonate still throughout the city, with no perpetrator ever convicted.
The investigation into the bombing has continually been marred by accusations of cover-ups and corruption, but the recently passed bill has given some members of the public a renewed sense of hope for justice. The memorandum will see Argentina participate in bi-lateral discussions with Iran through the creation of a ‘Truth Commission’, where members will review and analyse case information and issue recommendations to the state.
The agreement between the two countries has not come without controversy however, and has been sharply criticised by the Israeli government, Argentina’s Jewish community, and opposition politicians.
The Argentina Independent took to the streets and asked locals their opinion on the approval of the memorandum. Photos by Jerry Nelson.
Alberto, 64, Pensioner, Claypole.
In part it’s good, but in part it’s not. In part I don’t agree with the memorandum reform because in reality I think Argentina’s method of investigation will change in order to fit more with the investigation methods of Iran. But here, we are guilty also, and there are many guilty people out there who remain free. Before, with previous investigations, investigations without Iran, perhaps we almost had reached the truth, but unfortunately the issue is complicated. Very complicated. I think achieving justice for the bombing is what is most fundamental.
Luigi, 50, Sales Assistant, Lanús.
I believe that if the cause of a case as serious as this is being investigated, a case that has gone without punishment and consequences, then it should be investigated without relation or being adapted to fit another country. However, if a country has witnesses or information that would enable the case to be solved, then they have a responsibility to participate in the investigation. The AMIA case has gone unpunished and unresolved for so long, and if it takes another government to intervene and find some truth then that is what should happen.
Cecilia, 41, Journalist, San Telmo.
To me, it seems that the law reform is the main effort by the Argentine government to try and unlock the cause of the bombing. But in truth I think that the new memorandum will also make it difficult to generate an effective cooperation by Iran; the relationship and cooperation between Argentina and Iran may become complicated and hinder the investigation. But this is a case that finally must come to an end and be solved. However, the one thing that seemed strange to me is the hurry that the government seemed to be in when passing the law.
Juan Pablo, 32, Lawyer, Palermo.
I think that the memorandum between Argentina and Iran signifies an agreement between the two countries to try and unlock the cause of the attack and find justice for an attack that occurred, what 19 years ago? I believe that every Argentine wants to know the truth about what happened that day. One of the main suspicions of course, and one that I am in agreement with, is of the participation of another country in the attack – and hopefully with this reform, the government will be able to examine new lines of investigation.
Mariana, 42, La Plata.
I don’t think the case will be resolved; it seems too easy to think that the referendum will clarify all that has happened. And I don’t believe we can trust Iran at all.
I think the two countries, and the citizens of each, will retain the conflict. I’m not sure there are signs that point towards a resolve in such a historical conflict. The intention of the memorandum that both countries agree on is peace and justice, but what seems strange and what raises questions, is that both countries are revisiting a case so voluntarily after such a long period of time. I’m not sure if the memorandum will lead to a clear solution of the case.