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Testimonies from Colina Group members begin

January 24th, 2008 · No Comments

 JUICIOAFUJIMORI1-23-01-08027.jpg picture by praxislima Marcos Flores Albán.

January 23, 2008

Fifteenth session. State prosecutor Avelino Guillén and Ronald Gamarra, lawyer for the victims’ families, began the hearing by clarifying César Nakasaki’s affirmations from the previous session. In the cross-examination of journalist Edmundo Cruz, Nakasaki falsely claimed that part of the witness’s testimony could not be true. Consequently, the state prosecution as well as the lawyers of the victims’ families clarified the information, though no sanction was made against Nakasaki. According to Peruvian law, it is the court’s duty to sanction these kinds of acts, as indicated in section 13 of article 184 in the Organic Law of the JudiciaryMarcos Flores Albán, member of the Peruvian army, testified in this hearing. Flores admitted that he was integrated into the paramilitary group Colina in February 1991, as he similarly said in his other testimonies in the trials against Colina for the cases of La Cantuta and Barrios Altos. He explained in detail the group’s activities:

  1. He described the structure, indicating the four officers who were in charge (in order of rank): 1) Juan Rivero Lazo, who was then general of the Peruvian Army and chief of intelligence; 2)Fernando Rodríguez Zabalbeascoa, who was lieutenant colonel in the army; 3) Santiago Martin Rivas, captain; and 4) Carlos Pichilingüe Guevara, captain.
  2. Flores confirmed that those who directed these officers were Vladimiro Montesinos and Nicolás Hermoza Ríos. He said that on June 27, 1992 (three months after the coup), the Commanding General of the Armed Forces, Nicolás Hermoza Ríos, invited the members of Colina to lunch at one of the army’s bases in order to congratulate them. At this lunch, Hermoza spoke to them, implying that Colina operated with the consent of high government officials. “Now we have a legal frame, now we have political leadership,” he said. Flores turned in an audio copy of this speech to the court, to serve as evidence in the trial.
  3. “Plan Cipango” was created by Martin Rivas and later given to Flores to type. Flores said that the plan defined as a strategy the creation of a clandestine paramilitary group, which, the witness claimed, was the basis for Colina. (It is important to remember that in the last hearing Edmundo Cruz mentioned that the name Cipango was a reference to Japan.)
  4. Flores said he heard Rodríguez Zabalbeascoa say: “I went to see Vladi [Vladimiro Montesinos] in order to get the green light for the Barrios Altos operation, he told me, ‘beat the shit out of them.’” According to Flores, this demonstrates that Montesinos was aware of the group and approved Colina’s operations.
  5. Type of arms. Flores said that he was in charge of keeping the arms of the Colina Group, which included: 5 FAL rifles, 3 heavy barrel automatic rifles, 3 tripod rifles, 10 HK 9mm pistols with silencers, bullets, grenades, picks and shovels. (It is important to keep in mind that the issue of the army’s use of silencers has been contradicted among military witnesses during the trial, some deny the use of silencers while others say it was known that intelligence agents used them.)
  6. Flores formed part of the group who analyzed documents confiscated from Shining Path members. He also said that group carried out the assignment in the Regional Direction against Terrorism (DIRCOTE) and that this analysis formed part of “Plan Caballero” (Plan Gentleman). (It is important to remember that Marco Miyashiro, witness from the Peruvian police who was in charge of the operation involving Abimael Guzmán’s capture, testified in a previous hearing that the work carried out by this analyst group was never turned into the Peruvian police, thus not contributing in the Guzmán’s capture.)

On Friday, Jan. 25, two other Colina members will give their testimonies: José William Tena Jacinto and José Concepción Alarcón Gonzales, the latter also being Nicolás Hermoza Ríos’ personal security guard.Hermoza is currently being tried for the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta shootings as well as for illicit enrichment, and is thus being held, though he is currently in the military hospital for a minor surgery. The doctors at the National Penitentiary Institute have decided that he is ready to return to the prison on Jan. 26 at the latest. Hermoza, as a witness in the trial against Fujimori, continues to spark debate as to whether his declarations will implicate the former president even more. Both defendants are represented by lawyer César Nakasaki.

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