The Investigation Internship: An Overview

As a part of the human rights program with La Comisión Provincial de la Memoria, each of us had a small internship relating to one of the branches of the organization. One of these branches is the archives of la ex-Direccion de la Inteligencia de la Policía de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (the Direction of Police Intelligence of the Province of Buenos Aires), or the ex-DIPBA, which contains the thorough documentation of police vigilance and affairs between 1983 and 2000. During these post-dictatorship years, the country experienced what it calls “gatillo fácil” or “trigger happy” police violence, every case of which varies, but generally involves unnecessarily violent responses to miniscule or imaginary threats. Some, like the massacre of Wilde, include multiple casualties of completely innocent or at least untried civilians, no warning or explanation before firing, and suspiciously vague documentation of the events. Others, like the Sergio Schiavini case, in which a civilian hostage died in a shoot-out between a group of thieves and another of officers, were complicated because it remained undetermined which group, in the end, was directly responsible for the victim’s death. What nearly all of the cases have in common, however, is the minimal punishment or complete pardoning of the police officers involved. Today, the archives function as a point of reference for many of these cases, informing any investigators what information the police had at the time, what stance the media took, what organizations got involved, the kind of protests that followed, the trial details and outcome, etc. For this internship, I looked into the files for the case of Javier Omar Rojas Perez, a 23-year old rock band member who was shot at 3am in a pizzeria on July 23, 1995. Below, I have posted the English version of my report, a detailed example of a unique case of gatillo fácil.