Are we facing a terrorist attack or extortion against the bank?

by | May 26, 2015 | Articles | 0 comments

What happened last night takes us back to 1992, when a terrorist group exploded a car bomb in Tarata Avenue, unfortunately causing several deaths and not to mention material damages.

Surely the young people of today do not know what happened on July 16th, 1992, the harshness of those times; however, those who lived and survived in those years know how far the subversive attacks reached and the anxiety that was generated.

Y esterday’s attack, although it is true that it brings back memories of the terrible years we lived through, I believe that for now we should not be alarmist, I repeat: for now. I have heard from the media and neighbors in the area -understandably- that they are afraid of the return of subversive groups from the 80’s, but we have to let the police do their job.

In other words, the police will have to figure out who they are dealing with. For now, the crimes that are obvious are against the Patrimony in the modality of Aggravated Damages, typified in articles 205 and 206 of the Penal Code. Regarding the Personal Injuries (article 121 of the same legal body), the aggrieved would have to go to denounce before the police station of the sector and request the examination of the forensic doctor and finally the crime with greater importance, is that of “Serious Disturbance of the Public Tranquility”, stipulated in article 315-A, which states:

“Whoever seriously disturbs the public peace using any reasonable means capable of producing alarm, shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than three nor more than six years.
Serious disturbance is considered to be any act by which the imminent realization of a false or non-existent fact or situation, related to harm or potential harm to the life and integrity of persons or public or private property, is disseminated or brought to the attention of the public authority, the media or any other means by which the news can be massively disseminated.
If the agent acts as a member of a criminal organization that, to achieve its purposes, whatever they may be, uses as a means the threat of committing the crime of terrorism, shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than six nor more than ten years”. (shading ours)

There are three hypotheses that are handled in the media. The first one is that the facts -as already mentioned- are purely terrorist acts. Our legislators have stipulated in Decree Law 25475 with all its amendments, the regulation of the Terrorism Law.

Although there are several definitions of terrorism in the doctrine, I consider that there is no uniformity of criteria to conceptualize it. Article 2 states “Whoever provokes, creates or maintains a state of anxiety, alarm or fear in the population or in a sector of it, performs acts against life, body, health, personal freedom and security or against patrimony, against the security of public buildings, roads or means of communication or transportation of any kind, energy or transmission towers, motor facilities or any other property or any other good or means of transportation, motor installations or any other property or service, using armaments, explosive materials or devices or any other means capable of causing havoc or serious disturbance of public tranquility or affecting international relations or the security of society and the State, shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than twenty years[1]. ”

In order to generate the link “fact (circumstantial) – crime”, the police will have to establish that the attack was the product of a terrorist action, aimed at coercing and pressuring the State and/or society, since one of its philosophies is the use of violence as legitimate. I consider it hasty to think that we would be facing this hypothesis, but I do not rule out that with the course of the investigations it could happen.

The second conjecture arrived at is clearly a common law crime. Extortion, typified in article 200 of the Penal Code in force.

According to the sources, the grenade exploded in front of a banking entity, which could lead one to think that the thugs were demanding economic amounts or other “favors”; a situation that the police will have to investigate, first of all, by calling the bank officials and requesting the surveillance videos.

Finally, it is speculated that the government is the one who carried out the attack as a “smokescreen” – being in a place that brings psychosocial memories – in view of the latest events to distract the population; arguments that I do not share.

My advice is to let the police work to identify the alleged perpetrators of this unfortunate event.