Ricardo Izurieta, Chile’s ex-army commander, has passed away at his home aged 71.
Gen. Ricardo Izurieta succeeded Augusto Pinochet as army commander in 1998, during the country’s difficult transition towards democracy.
In a statement, the army praised Ricardo Izurieta for uniting Chilean society.
He helped set up a human rights commission to investigate serious abuses committed during military rule.
The commission’s work led the military to admit that it had dropped the bodies of political prisoners into the sea during the dictatorship.
Ricardo Izurieta took over from Gen. Augusto Pinochet as commander-in-chief of the Army in March 1998 and stayed in the post until 2002.
Augusto Pinochet had seized power in a coup in 1973 and stood down as president in 1990. But remained as army commander for another eight years.
During the 1973-1990 period Augusto Pinochet led the brutal persecution to supporters of the deposed Socialist President, Salvador Allende.
According to official figures, 40,018 people were victims of human rights abuses in the Pinochet years and 3,065 were killed or disappeared.
Ricardo Izurieta was appointed to replace Augusto Pinochet as army commander by Chile’s democratically-elected President, Eduardo Frei.
“He united the army and the whole Chilean society, without excluding anyone,” the army said in a statement.
The Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, also praised Gen. Ricardo Izurieta role in Chile’s democratic transition.
“He was someone I could rely on in difficult times,” said Jose Miguel Insulza, who was forced to leave Chile after the 1973 coup.
Ricardo Izurieta will be buried at the Military Academy in Santiago on Tuesday. The cause of death has not been disclosed.
Augusto Pinochet died in hospital in December 2006, aged 91.
In October 1998, he was arrested while on holiday in London.
The Spanish government sought to put Augusto Pinochet on trial in Madrid over the deaths of its citizens in Chile, but he was released and returned to Santiago in March 2000.
Ricardo Izurieta was at the Air Force base in Santiago to welcome his former commander.
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