Buenos Aires – A cleaning crew stumbled on dossiers containing all of the secret orders of the 1976-1983 military regime that is blamed for as many as 30,000 deaths, Argentina's defense minister said Monday.
The documents turned up last Thursday at the Condor building in Buenos Aires, which houses air force offices, Agustin Rossi told a press conference.
"We find six original binders of the orders of the military junta, from March 24, 1976, to Dec. 10, 1983," he said.
Those binders were among a total of 1,500 binders discovered inside strong-boxes and closets.
The trove, which covers the period from the original military coup to the restoration of democracy, is "ordered and classified and even has a subject index," the defense minister said.
Found along with the binders were three bound volumes of communications from the public to the military, mostly from families trying to track down loved ones "disappeared" by the junta.
The document hoard also includes blacklists containing the names of 331 intellectuals, journalists, artists and others persecuted by the regime for political reasons, Rossi said.
Argentina's military regime killed as many as 30,000 people and brutalized thousands more.
Thanks to amnesty laws passed in the 1980s, the junta's crimes went unpunished for decades, but the Argentine Congress voted in 2003 to overturn the amnesties, which paved the way for a raft of prosecutions.
Gen. Rafael Videla, the most prominent figure in the military government, died on May 17 inside the prison where he was serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity.
The 87-year-old former strongman died of a heart attack.