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Written orders not needed to prove command responsibility, says international expert

August 26th, 2008 · No Comments

(Colombian expert Federico Andreu-Guzmán)

August 25, 2008

Ninety-fourth session. Colombian expert Federico Andreu-Guzmán was presented, who asserted that in order to prove command responsibility in the organized power structure, it is necessary to establish the existence of a crime-committing structure as well as orders that are “implicit or tacit.”

1.     Trial happenings


Information to the INPE

At the beginning of the session, the Court announced that it had already sent the documentation for Alberto Fujimori’s trials to the National Penitentiary Institute (INPE), which reports directly on the Justice Ministry. This was a response to how Fujimori’s penitentiary regime that was changed through an unpublished resolution in June.


According to Andreu-Guzmán:


The lawyer declared that according to international jurisprudence, “the objective existence of a structure to commit crimes” as well as evidence that the person responsible had power over this criminal structure must be demonstrated in order to prove command responsibility for a crime. It is not necessary, he said, to prove if the organized power structures are legal or illegal.

Similarly, it is not necessary to prove personal interaction among those who commit the crimes and the person who gives the order; what must be proven is the functional relationship between them.


Furthermore, Andreu-Guzmán said that the person with command responsibility could give different kinds of orders, such as coded language, previously agreed upon silence, notices in the press, etc. Thus it is not necessary for the orders to be written, since written orders hardly ever exist when authorizing crimes against human rights. He asserted that written orders are not a key element in proving the violation or the responsibility, rather they serve as material proof of the act. He explained that there were no written orders in the case of the Argentine, Chilean or Uruguayan dictatorships; on the contrary, many of the orders are verbal.


According to Andreu-Guzmán, this concept of command responsibility is established in international jurisprudence in countries such as Spain, Japan, Rwanda, former Yugoslavia, Haiti, Argentina and Chile, among others.


The expert also asserted that Fujimori’s responsibility is demonstrated since he not only failed to order investigations of the Barrios Altos (1991) and La Cantuta (1992) crimes, but also congratulated and rewarded the members of the Colina military detachment who committed them.


2.     Next session Aug. 27  

Discussion on evidence

The Court announced that next session the rules regarding evidence will be debated. The evidence stage in the trial will take place after all of the experts are presented.


International experts

At the next session, Spanish Supreme Court Judge José Antonio Martín Pallín will be presented as an international expert.


No session Aug. 29

Since several anniversary-related activities will be carried out on Friday Aug. 29 in the police base where Fujimori’s human rights trial is held, the session for that day has been suspended.