Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Peru: Commissioners Should Keep Mouths Shut

An astonishing attack on the members of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission by Defence Minister Flores. Here's a (quick) translation of La Republica's article:

He rejects suggestions that the Armed Forces should apologise to the victims of violence. He says this would force the State to its knees.

The Minister of Defence, Antero Flores-Araoz, yesterday as good as told the ex commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to stay quiet and stop talking about their recommendations.

"The ex-members of the TRC are acting as if they had power now. They are 'ex', they already completed their mission, they already submitted their report, and yet, every day they are pontificating and pointing out virtues and defects, and asking the State to comply with their recommendations", stated Flores-Araoz.

Moreover, responding to the request that the Armed Forces apologise to victims for the excesses in the struggle against subversion, the Minister of Defence maintained that this would be a grave mistake and would bring the State to its knees.

The calls for the State, and in particular, the military to apologise for the abuses committed during the conflict between 1980 and 2000 are coming on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the submission of the TRC Final Report, on Thursday.

Seriously - how rude! And moreover; I'm sure the Commissioners, some of the best brains in Peru, would be more happy to sit back and get on with other things if their recommendations had been followed. It's not as if the government rejected their findings. They nodded and preached about how very worthwhile it all was and since then there has been a lot of foot-dragging in the process of actually getting out there and making amends for the shattered lives caused be the conflict.

The Defence Minister emphasised that the military had acted "in reaction" to the violence provoked by others, to save the country "from the chaos that was terrorism, which had caused thousands of deaths, thousands of widows, destruction, chaos, and bereavement."


Death. The TRC found that the civil conflict which the State fought with Shining Path and the MRTA caused around 70,000 deaths.

Responsibility. The TRC report stated that 54% of deaths were caused by Shining Path and the other 44.5% was attributed to the reaction of the security forces and paramilitary groups. The military say that this figure is exaggerated.
[italics mine]

The State caused almost half of all deaths, and these were in no way all Shining Path guerrillas. The great majority were highland indigenous people caught between the army and guerrillas. We're talking around 30,000 people. But the thought of an apology would "bring it to its knees"?

Antero Flores cuestiona reclamos de los comisionados de la CVR (La Republica)

(Also sorry for not translating the complete article... I wanted to, but it's past my bedtime...)

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