Sixth day of the trial. During the examination by Aprodeh lawyer Gloria Cano, representing the victims’ families, Fujimori said for the first time: “I do not apologize, but I do offer my regrets, now that we are here in this trial, to all victims – victims of the Armed Forces as well as MRTA and Shining Path.”*
During the same examination, Fujimori reiterated his regret for the situation that generated these crimes, admitting that they are indeed an abuse of human rights, but maintained that his government had no reason to order these deaths.
However, Gisella Ortíz, leader among the victims’ families, rejected this semi-apology, saying that Fujimori had 15 years to offer condolences. Moreover, they seem half-hearted and used as just a part of his strategy in the trial he faces, she says. Gisella Ortíz is the sister of Enrique Ortíz, a disappeared student from La Cantuta.
* Originally: “No perdón, pero sí pido disculpas…” (Not “perdón,” but yes I ask “disculpas”…). The difference between saying “perdón” and asking “disculpas” is very important in understanding Fujimori’s statement and has generally been played down in English language news sources. While the two expressions are generally treated as synonymous by language dictionaries, there is a colloquial difference in meaning which Fujimori has referred to. Generally, “perdón” is like saying sorry or asking for forgiveness, while “disculpa” is more like the English “excuse me” – something you say more on a daily basis: for example, if you bump into someone or say something perceived as offensive to someone else. Likewise, “perdón” implies that your conscience is heavy, while “disculpa” lets on that your conscience is clear, perhaps because what was done was accidental, unintentional or minor.