Argentina Reopens Probe of Kirchner Related to 1994 Bombing

An Argentine appeals court on Thursday reopened an investigation into allegations that former President Cristina Kirchner and other officials plotted with Iran to cover up that nation’s alleged role in a 1994 bombing of a Jewish center.

 Former prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead in early 2015. Photo: Juan Mabromata/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Former prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead in early 2015. Photo: Juan Mabromata/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The federal court’s decision, published online, came in response to an appeal from a Jewish community institution in Buenos Aires known as DAIA, almost two years after the prosecutor who filed the original criminal complaint, Alberto Nisman, was found dead in his apartment from a gunshot wound.

“This is a significant day,” Waldo Wolff, a congressman and former vice president of DAIA, told the TN Noticias TV channel. “The only thing we ask is that it is investigated.”

Mrs. Kirchner left office late last year. On Tuesday, she was indicted on allegations of corruption tied to public works projects in her home province of Santa Cruz. Earlier this year, she was indicted in a case alleging that she ordered Argentina’s central bank to illegally trade derivatives, perhaps costing the country billions of dollars.

Mrs. Kirchner has denied wrongdoing, saying the cases are politically motivated. In the past, Iran has also denied involvement in the Buenos Aires bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, or AMIA, which killed 85 people and injured hundreds.

“Now they accuse me of covering up the AMIA attack that occurred…22 and a half years ago!” Mrs. Kirchner said Thursday on Twitter. “The only thing left to accuse me of is Kennedy’s death.”

Mr. Nisman, the former prosecutor, was found dead in his apartment in January 2015, a day before he was scheduled to testify in Congress concerning the allegations contained in his complaint. Investigators have yet to determine if he was murdered or committed suicide, although many in Argentina believe he was killed.

The former prosecutor, who had spent a decade investigating the bombing, said in the complaint that he believed Mrs. Kirchner, former Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and others conspired with Iran to shield those responsible for the bombing in exchange for Iranian oil.

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in 2013 to create a Truth Commission to probe the attack, which the Argentine Jewish community said was an attempt to whitewash Iran’s involvement in the bombing. The countries never followed through on the joint investigation, as Iran’s parliament didn’t ratify the memorandum and an Argentine court declared it unconstitutional.

An Argentine federal judge halted investigations last year, saying there was no evidence of a crime. DAIA appealed that decision, saying there is new evidence from a recording between Mr. Timerman and the former head of the AMIA center.

The federal judge will be replaced, the appeals court said Thursday, and a new one will take over the case.

“We were very eagerly awaiting this,” said Ariel Gelblung, the Latin America director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based human rights organization. “We expect them to do this investigation.”

Efforts to contact Mrs. Kirchner and her lawyer weren’t immediately successful. Her lawyer, Gregorio Dalbon, said on Twitter Thursday that efforts to connect Mrs. Kirchner to Mr. Nisman’s death “is more ridiculous than the [court’s] decision.”

Mr. Timerman’s lawyer, Alejandro Rua, said he would appeal the court’s decision to the Supreme Court. Mr. Rua said Mr. Timerman denies the accusations. “There is no crime,” he said.

The Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.