Peru: Peruvian justice prohibits Fujimori from leaving the country to face a pending trial | International

Relatives of victims who disappeared during the Government of Alberto Fujimori demonstrate against the ruling of the Constitutional Court.
Relatives of victims who disappeared during the Government of Alberto Fujimori demonstrate against the ruling of the Constitutional Court.Paolo Aguilar (EFE)

The criminal court that is leading the trial against the autocrat Alberto Fujimori for the murder of six peasants —perpetrated by the military during his government— has prohibited his departure from the country for a year and a half. The measure has been granted at the request of the prosecutor, given the imminent release of the prisoner after the decision of the Constitutional Court last Thursday, which approved a habeas corpus. Fujimori is pending, among other cases, to appear in the oral trial of the Pativilca case as the direct perpetrator of qualified homicide, which is considered a crime against humanity, committed north of Lima in January 1992 by the Colina Group, a death squad. of the Peruvian Army that committed dozens of extrajudicial executions of civilians under the umbrella of the fight against terrorism at the beginning of the 90s.

Prosecutor Luis Javier Ramírez also requested appearances with restrictions to ensure that Fujimori appears at trial, given that in other cases of serious human rights violations he has not paid civil compensation to the victims and their families. The inmate has a debt of 13.6 million dollars with the State for civil damages, according to the anti-corruption attorney. On Thursday afternoon, Judge Miluska Cano stated that when Fujimori is released, he must inform his office of his address in the city of Lima, and “appear before the court when required, unless his health situation —duly documented—prevents it.”

Among the grounds for her decision, the judge commented that this Friday, March 25, the Peruvian State will submit its observations to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) on the provisional measures that it will take in light of the ruling of the Peruvian Constitutional Court. “The impact on the right to truth and the right to reparation should be noted, especially when the defendant has not paid the civil compensation in the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta cases,” said Cano. In November 1991, the Colina Group murdered 15 people —including an eight-year-old boy— in a building in Barrios Altos, in the center of Lima, and, in July 1992, it kidnapped nine students and a university professor. La Cantuta National Education Center, whom he later extrajudicially executed. The following year, some of the bodies were found charred east of the capital.

In 2009, the Special Criminal Chamber sentenced Fujimori to 25 years in prison as the indirect perpetrator of the crimes of qualified homicide and serious injuries in both cases, after having been extradited from Chile. The sentence came after a long process in the inter-American justice system to which the victims and survivors resorted due to the impossibility of finding her in the Peruvian jurisdiction. The IACHR found the Peruvian State responsible in both cases, and as part of the reparations it ordered the investigation and punishment of the crimes, among other measures. Fujimori has served 15 years of that sentence.

Under the argument that Fujimori, 82, does not represent a danger to society and his health is broken, the appeal that the lawyer Gregorio Parco presented to the Constitutional Court asked to annul the resolution of the supreme judge Hugo Núñez that in 2018 invalidated the pardon that then President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski awarded Fujimori on Christmas Eve 2017.

In last Thursday’s debate, habeas corpus, the judges were tied three to three, but the president of the Constitutional, Augusto Ferrero, defined with the casting vote. Ferrero came to court in 2017 sponsored by the Fujimori faction of Fuerza Popular and the leader of that political group, Keiko, the eldest daughter of the former president.

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Although the Constitutional Court has not released the sentence —with the arguments for and against— on Thursday it announced that the decision with the three votes in favor of the habeas corpus “Restores the effects of the resolution of December 24, 2017, which granted humanitarian pardon to the applicant, and orders his release.” Judge Núñez annulled the presidential pardon in October 2018 because it was the product of a political negotiation between Kuczynski and Kenji —Fujimori’s youngest son, a congressman at the time— to avoid his dismissal.

The magistrate demonstrated that the pardon process occurred in an extraordinarily short period of time and that there were irregularities in the medical reports on the prisoner. At the request of the families of the victims in the La Cantuta and Barrios Altos cases, the judge assessed whether the pardon violated the obligations of the Peruvian State before the inter-American justice system and concluded that it was incompatible with them. For Judge Núñez, the procedural defects of the 2017 pardon evidenced the lack of due process, independence, and transparency that the case required. “It is not appropriate to grant benefits improperly that could lead in some way to impunity,” he said in his resolution.

From that episode, Kenji Fujimori faces a trial for bribery and influence peddling since January due to the exchange of his father’s pardon in favor of votes to save Kuczynski’s presidency. The prosecutor has requested eleven years in prison for Fujimori’s youngest son.

After the ruling of the three Constitutional magistrates, last week, the Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights expressed their concern about the non-compliance with the sentences of the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta cases, and the United Nations human rights office He recalled that international standards restrict pardons in cases of serious human rights violations. On Tuesday, UN human rights experts also rejected the Constitutional ruling, in a statement. “The victims of human rights violations have been waiting for justice for a long time, and this decision represents a painful setback for them,” said Fabián Salvioli, special rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice and reparation; Morris Tidball Binz, special rapporteur on judicial executions; and five members of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

“The Constitutional Court’s decision to release Mr. Fujimori and to reinstate a presidential pardon that had been granted to him in 2017 appears to be inconsistent with international human rights standards that restrict the use of pardon in cases involving crimes against humanity,” add the specialists of the United Nations special procedures.

This Friday, a prosecutor must inform the Inter-American Court of the position of the Peruvian State regarding what was decided by the Constitutional Court, while at the gates of the compound where Fujimori is serving his sentence, the press awaits his release, which could be effective around the 28th. deadline that the magistrates have to deliver the argumentation of their votes in the questioned sentence.

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