Argentina's military junta ruled with notorious brutality from 1976 to 1983, killing, torturing and disappearing thousands of people.
Italy's top criminal court has confirmed the extradition of an Italian priest sought by Argentina on charges of murder and torture during its last military dictatorship, rejecting the priest's appeal, a lawyer said Sunday.
Reverend Franco Reverberi, 86, served as military chaplain during Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship.
According to lawyer Arturo Salerni, who represented Argentina in the case, the decision by Italy's Court of Cassation in the case confirms a previous ruling by a Bologna appeal court and is now definitive.
Salerni told the Associated Press that the extradition order for the priest, who returned to Italy in 2011, was signed on Wednesday by Italian Justice Minister Carlo Nordio.
"The battle for truth and justice that has been conducted primarily by the families of the victims of the terrible years of the Argentine dictatorship reached another important result," he said.
"This decision affirms a universal jurisdiction on the violations of human rights," he added.
Priest holds Italian citizenship
Reverberi currently lives in Sorbolo, a small town in Italy's northern Emilia-Romagna region, where he was born. His family emigrated from Italy to Argentina when he was about 7 years old.
The priest, who holds Italian citizenship, is wanted in Argentina on charges including aiding and abetting the 1976 slaying of 22-year-old José Guillermo Berón and conspiring with the military in the torture of several other men.
The alleged torture took place in the town of San Rafael, near the city of Mendoza, where Reverberi was a military chaplain.
The priest left Argentina in 2011 after the first trial for crimes against humanity carried out under the dictatorship took place in the western Mendoza province, and the testimonies of survivors and family members began to point to his responsibility. As Argentine authorities began looking for him, Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest.
Human rights activists say as many as 30,000 people were killed or disappeared during Argentina's military dictatorship. More than 1,000 people have been convicted of crimes against humanity in the country since trials began in the mid-2000s.