January 25, 2008
Sixteenth session. Two former agents of the Colina Group testified as witnesses for the defense: José Alarcón González and José William Tena Jacinto.
Alarcón was head of the security and protection team of Nicolás de Bari Hermoza Ríos until May 11, 1992, when he was selected to be in the Colina Group. He said that though his formal transfer was done in May 1992, four Colina operations had already been carried out — ending in deaths — while he was still Hermoza’s security chief.
Later, Alarcón described in detail the events in the La Cantuta killing, saying that all the Colina agents had arms with silencers and that in two vehicles they carried shovels, picks and quicklime (used to make graves secretly). In other words, the deaths at La Cantuta had already been planned.
Additionally, Alarcón said that Colina was a selection, or “distinction” in the intelligence division, and for the creation of a “distinction” of this nature, the army’s Commanding General must be aware. Furthermore, despite the constant mention of these crimes in the press as well as in the military bases, he never received any sanction or even a phone call asking about them.
The second witness, William Tena, testified that he had been infiltrated in La Cantuta since 1986 as part of the “Operation Narval,” which included the infiltration of intelligence agents in national institutions as part of the anti-terrorist strategy.
Tena also explained the events of the La Cantuta killing in great detail, saying that when they left the university with the students and Professor Hugo Muñoz still alive, Santiago Martin Rivas, chief of the Colina “distinction,” received a call from General Juan Rivero Lazo, head of the Directorate of Intelligence (DINTE), who ordered Martin to hand over those detained to the Peruvian police. However, Martin disobeyed the general’s orders.
With respect to the version that La Cantuta (July 18, 1992) was not planned and that it was a response to the killings on Tarata (a street in a middle-class district in Lima where a bomb went off, killing 25, on July 16, 1992), Tena told the Court that already on July 14 another Colina agent was discovered taking pictures of the student dormitories in the university, where the victims were later taken from. Tena, referring to the topic of a low-intensity war, also said that “it’s what they teach officers in the School of the Americas.” He concluded his testimony by saying that military officers were never taught to have any kind of respect for human rights, rather they are only taught “to finish with the enemy,” for which he apologized to the Peruvian people and the victims.
After one of the recesses, Gloria Cano, one of the lawyers for the victims’ families, asked the Court not to allow Fujimori’s supporters present at the trial to continue making comments like “they were terrorists who had to die,” which was stated by former Fujimorista congresswoman, Carmen Lozada de Gamboa. The Court responded that on the verified repetition of these incidents, those people will no longer be allowed to be present at the hearings.