Sentenced to life imprisonment on 22 April 1985 for assassination, illegal confinemnt and torture; granted presidential pardon in 1990; charged and arrested in 1998 for crimes against humanity; declared unfit to stand trial in 2003; died on 8 November 2010 in Buenos Aires.
Emilio Eduardo Massera was born in Parana, Argentina on 19 October 1925. He studied at the Naval Military School from 2 February 1942 till December 1946. He continued his studies at the Interamerican Defence College in Washington where he learned about "anti-subversive war". Emilio Massera later became commander of the frigate ARA Libertad then commanding officer of the Navy fleet. On 23 August 1974, under Peron's presidency he was awarded the rank of Admiral and became Commander-in-Chief the Argentine Navy. He held these functions until September 1978.
On 24th March, a military junta headed by Jorge R. Videla seized power in a coup d’état. They led the country until 10 December 1983. The junta was at first composed of Videla, Naval Commander Admiral Emilio E. Massera and Air Force Commander Sergeant General Ramon Agosti. Massera was to remain a member of the junta until 16 September 1978.
During this time, which was later to be known as the "dirty war", the Argentinean junta endeavoured to finish off the country's guerrillas and to eradicate what the junta called "subversive thought" as well as "terrorists", that is to say "anybody who propagates ideas opposed to western, and Christian civilisation". During the course of the following years, the junta murdered or were responsible for the forced disappearance of between 10 000 to 30 000 people. At the same time, about 500 000 political opponents were forced into exile to escape repression.
Many hundreds of secret detention centres were opened in the country, the most ill renowned being the "Escuela Superior de Mecanica de la Armada",( ESMA) in Buenos Aires where Massera was the person in charge. Torture was systematically practiced at this location. It was also there that numerous prisoners were assassinated and disappeared. The young women who give birth in these centres had their children taken away from them to be placed in army families with falsified documents.
Finally, in 1983 the military regime, being weakened by its stinging defeat by the British army during the Falklands war, gave way to a democratically elected civilian government with Raul Alfonsin, a radical, as its president.