For the first time a member of the Argentine military was removed from service (entailing loss of retirement benefits) in a disciplinary action for domestic violence at home, against his partner, also a member of the military. The couple lived together for several years but in 2016 when they were in the process of separating, she, a corporal, 32 years old, arrived at work one day with her arm in a cast. She told her boss that her partner, an Army major, 42 years old, had broken her arm, having seized her as if she were an enemy in combat during an argument in the house that they shared. Her boss presented the case to the Office of Inter-family Violence of the Army, created during the government of Nestor Kirchner, under the first female Minister of Defense in Argentina, Nilda Garré, where a gender perspective was incorporated into the restructuring of the Armed Forces. The corporal recounted the facts and a file was opened and she began to receive psychological help.
A military disciplinary tribunal applied the maximum punishment in September and the major appealed. The General Court of Discipline, presided over by General Santiago Ferreyra, the second head of the Army, ratified the lower court’s decision. The opinion is confidential. The decision is paradigmatic in that the Argentine Armed Forces has traditionally treated similar acts involving a couple in the military as “a matter of private life” to which the Disciplinary Code could not be applied. If a husband beat his wife it was not considered an offense, because of the macho nature of the military world. This decision takes such acts out of the realm of private life and transforms them into matters of public policy.
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