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Army general says Shining Path was not winning the war when self-coup took place

April 28th, 2008 · No Comments

Petronio Fernández Dávila Carnero. 

April 25, 2008

Fifty-third session. Retired Gen. Petronio Fernández Dávila Carnero, called by Fujimori’s defense team, testified in this session. Fernández is currently being tried for human rights violations.

1. Incidents during the hearing


Fujimori’s defense team short one lawyer.

Since the beginning of the trial, Fujimori’s defense team has included three lawyers: César Nakazaki and his assistants, Gladys Vallejo Santa María and Johan Pinedo. However, lawyer Pinedo is no longer attending the trial of Alberto Fujimori, since he is in charge of the cases against generals Julio Salazar Monroe and Nicolás Hermoza Ríos.


2. The most important aspects of :


In 1992, it was impossible for subversive group Shining Path to win the war.

According to the retired general, Shining Path was never about to win the war. He said that as an official in the emergency zone, Shining Path unleashed indiscriminate terror (according to statistics from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Shining Path was directly responsible for 54% of deaths during the armed conflict); however, to him, when the subversive group arrived to Lima, it was already on the decline and the attacks in Lima were an attempt to demonstrate a power that they no longer had.

Former president of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, Arnaldo Velarde Ramírez, also mentioned the inexistence of the supposed “equilibrium strategy” (term used by the Shining Path to refer to who was winning the war against the Peruvian State), which confirms the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s theory.


“Non-Conventional War” was used by Peruvian Army.

 The witness acknowledged various military documents in which a “non-conventional war” was mentioned.


“Eliminate” can mean kill:

According to Gen. Petronio Fernández Dávila, the term “eliminate” used in Peruvian Army manuals and regulations includes carrying out three actions:

1.     Civic action, indispensable to win over the population.

2.     Psychological operations in order to separate members of Shining Path and the population.

3.     In case of confrontation in combat, to kill.


The witness’ professional career:


1.     In 1990, he was head of the Military Strategy Command in Ayacucho. However, he also said that he was never called for any human rights investigation, he did not find out about an incinerator of human remains in the “Los Cabitos” barracks, neither did he find out that in these barracks (under his command) there had been exhumations of deceased bodies, including a boy’s. According to the witness, these investigations are in the Peruvian judiciary, which is why he (as head of the base) did not need to find out. Furthermore, he said that no accusation has been proven.

2.     In 1991, the witness participated in the “anti-subversive advisement committee” of the army’s commander general, then Pedro Villanueva, since Fernández needed more information in order to intervene in meetings of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, whose source of income was the Army Intelligence Office (DINTE).

As member of this committee, the witness didn’t know that in the National Intelligence Service (SIN), Vladimiro Montesinos met with Alberto Fujimori. Neither did he know that the presidential praise given to the “analysis group” formed by Santiago Martin Rivas, respecting the supposed intelligence work. When he was asked “you didn’t inform them of anything?”, regarding the SIN’s activities, the general answered “absolutely.”

Neither did the witness know why a special detachment in search of information (the Colina detachment) was assigned guns with silencers.


3.     In 1992, the witness was head of the Human Rights Office within the Joint Command of the Armed Forces. However, on April 5 of that year, date of the “self-coup,” he was on vacation and therefore didn’t know what happened or find out about the coup. According to the general, closing Congress, the judiciary and other institutions does not quality as a coup d’état. He was also unaware of the arrests made as a result of April 5.


For the next sessions, the following retired military officials have been summoned to testify: Alberto Ríos Rueda (former head of the Military House of the Government Palace and Military Fourth Region, implicated in the case of Susana Higuchi), César Burga Colchado and Hugo Martínez Aloja (head of the Los Cabitos barracks in Ayacucho in 1991).


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