A Chilean appeals court has ruled former dictator Augusto Pinochet cannot avoid prosecution for alleged human rights violations on health grounds.

In a unanimous ruling, the judges concluded that recent medical exams do not disqualify Pinochet, who is 90 years old, from standing trial.

The ruling clears the way for Pinochet to be brought to trial in connection with the murder of leftwing dissidents during his 17-year military rule from 1973 to 1990.

The specific case relates to a campaign, known as "Operation Colombo," in which 119 dissidents disappeared in 1975 and were believed killed. It is one of several human rights cases brought against the retired general.

He and members of his family also have been charged with tax evasion and fraud stemming from his years in power.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.