Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Peru: Impunity Update

There are some really worrying developments afoot in Peru right now, which I feel I have been remiss in not emphasising earlier. Here's a brief rundown:

1) Defense Minister Rafael Rey says that while soldiers may have committed "detestable" crimes during the civil conflict in Peru, they didn't commit crimes against humanity, because only "terrorists" can do that.

Rey niega graves violaciones a los derechos humanos (La Republica)

2) A package of bills being sent to Congress is attempting to limit the responsibility of members of the security forces involved in lethal confrontations in the "emergency zones".
One of the draft laws would modify the Criminal Code, so that no legal action could be taken against soldiers and police who kill or injure civilians in the so-called "emergency zones," areas controlled by the security forces by order of the executive branch because of "terrorist" threats or violent social protests.
The executive branch also sent a draft law to Congress on the purpose, scope and definition of the term "use of force" by the National Police, detailing situations in which a police officer is exempt from responsibility when his or her actions have a lethal outcome.

If the accused officer can justify the use of lethal force by the intensity and dangerousness of the aggression, the behaviour of the aggressor, or the hostile surroundings and situation, he or she will be exempt from criminal, civil and administrative responsibility, says the draft law.
A third draft law proposed by the government would give the military and police the prerogative to remove the bodies of members of the security forces without the presence of prosecutors, as the current laws require. This would mean that they could disturb a crime scene without judicial authorisation.

The package of bills follows an intense campaign by conservative and pro-military groups, which accuse non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of pressing for legal action against troops and police involved in putting down social protests and the guerrillas.
Gov't Seeks Legal Shield for Security Forces (IPS)

3) The accused in the cases of forced disappearance Samuel Ramos Diego, Jesús Liceti Mego and Esaú Cajas Julca have just been acquitted, leaving the crimes still unpunished. The victims were abducted in 1990 and the chiefs of the armed forces in the area were in court for the crimes, but now the judges appear to be calling into question whether the disappearances occurred at all.

Tribunal absuelve a ex jefes del frente Huallaga (La Republica)

4) Teodora Pariona Ventura, one of the founders of the relatives' group ANFASEP, has died, after 20 years of searching, without finding out what happened to her two sons.

Madre de desaparecidos murió en el olvido (La Republica)

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