Friday, 7 November 2008

Peru: Military Amnesty Call

I'm trying to think of an example when a blanket military amnesty is ever a good thing; I haven't managed it yet.

The chairman of the congressional committee on defence and internal order in Peru, Edgard Núñez, has introduced a draft law to grant an amnesty to members of the military and police facing trial for human rights violations.

"There are members of the military and the police, especially rank-and-file troops, who have spent more than 36 months in prison and have not yet been sentenced," Congressman Núñez told IPS.

"Some have been persecuted by the justice system for 20 years. For how long are they going to persecute these people? The only thing they did was to stick out their necks to save us from terrorism and offer us peace and democracy. My draft law is aimed at putting an end to this situation," he said.

Two issues here. One is the length of time which it takes cases to be processed and how long people wait before they come to trial; this may well be a valid point and something that needs sorting out. Is it the right solution to simply set alleged criminals free? Surely not.

"Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) live off of persecuting the brave people who defeated the subversives," Núñez told IPS. "All they do is defend the human rights of terrorists."

Oh no, not this tired old argument again.

"Why follow international standards or the guidelines of the San José Court? They aren’t familiar with the reality here. The country has to be grateful to its soldiers and should automatically amnesty them," he argued.

Right, right, international law doesn't apply to Peru.

I don't have to go too far into this mess, do I? Impunity. It's not pretty. Let's not talk military amnesties.

Peru: Pressure to Amnesty Military, Police (IPS)

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