January 28, 2008
Seventeenth session. Witnesses included former Colina Group members Pedro Supo Sánchez and Víctor Hinojosa Sopla.
In his testimony, Supo explained the training, operation and subsequent imprisonment of the Colina members.
- Supo said that on the “La Tiza” beach — location of a Peruvian army base, 56 km south of Lima — officers trained for “intelligence operations,” where they performed drills of all the operations’ steps, including interrogations. He claimed they practiced the Barrios Altos operation eight times.
On Colina’s operations:
- Supo testified they were initially informed that the operation in Barrios Altos would be to arrest Shining Path militants and take them to the Peruvian police. However, after the operation, Colina members realized that their operations would not be to arrest Shining Path members, but to kill them.
- In response to state prosecutor, Avelino Guillén’s questions, Supo gave a description of the armory that the Colina Group used, including dynamite, fuse, grenades and HKs with silencers.
- Supo said the Colina Group watched several politicians, including Yehude Simon Munaro, who was unjustly imprisoned for accusations of terrorism. Years later, the state recognized its mistake and freed him. He is currently the regional president of the Lambayeque department in Peru. Former congressman, Javier Diez Canseco, was similarly watched by Colina, who even followed his actions in Congress, identifying themselves as military officers when they entered the building.
- In the lunch that Nicolás Hermoza Ríos offered in order to congratulate Colina members, Supo said that Santiago Martin Rivas urged him to ask Hermoza (then president of the armed forces and commanding general of the army) for help for his wife who had cancer. Hermoza responded by offering him US$800 and ordered Juan Rivero Lazo to give Supo a receipt for this amount. However, Supo—despite signing the receipt—never received the money and is unsure whether Martin Rivas or Carlos Pichilingüe, leades in Colina, ended up with it.
- He claimed to have participated in the crimes of: Barrios Altos, the Ventocilla family, the Santa disappearances, the disappearance of Pedro Yauri, the murder of Pampa San José and Caraqueño inhabitants and the Central Highway (Carretera Central).
On Colina members’ imprisonment:
- Supo testified that in 1993 he was stationed in Russia as an auxiliary, where he gathered information that was later handed to General Revilla, also stationed in Russia. This continued until Revilla told him: “La Cantuta and Barrios Altos already exploded.” What this causes one to believe — even though none of the lawyers asked about it —that Revilla was aware of Supo’s involvement in Colina’s operations.
- When Supo arrived to Lima, he first went to a family member’s house. Later, he was arrested and taken to the Army Intelligence Service (SIE) base, where the colonel in charge, Enrique Oliveros, told him he would be tried by a military tribunal. Supo was in the SIE for a week and was later transferred to a military base in the department of Ica (south of Lima). At the base, he was with other members of the Colina Group. Despite their being arrested, all the men still carried their arms.
- Supo said that he had not previously testified on his knowledge and participation in the Colina Group due to the threats and aggressions his family received: his two-year-old grandchild was kidnapped, a gun was pointed at his son and his daughter was run over. He did not mention who was behind these attacks, but the message given to his children was not to get involved in their father’s affairs. Only recently, with his family now outside of Lima, has Supo felt that he can tell everything he knows.
As Supo spoke Fujimori took notes, frequently looking at the witness. When asked by the judges, Fujimori responded that he had no comments to make regarding Supo’s testimony.
The other witness, former Colina Group member, Hinojosa Sopla, refused to give his testimony, taking refuge in his “right to silence.” Hinojosa has already given a “sincere confession” during his previous testimony in a criminal trial against the Colina Group, thus his decision to withhold testimony on issues he has already confessed is somewhat odd.
Though Hinojosa has a right to withhold testimony, the Court declared that this situation will be evaluated with respect to each of the other witnesses’ testimonies. There are many witnesses who are currently being tried for the same case and who have the right to silence. However, there are protests that the withholding of their testimonies would create a hole in the state prosecution’s efforts to prove the charges. The most important witnesses is Hermoza Ríos, who is currently being tried for corruption and crimes against humanity. Hermoza has already testified that it is impossible that Fujimori did not know about Colina’s activities. Additionally, Hermoza has the same lawyer as Fujimori: César Nakasaki.
For the next hearing on Wed., Jan 30, former Colina member Julio Chuqui Aguirre has been summoned. Chuqui was the first Colina member to talk about the group’s crimes.