Fujimori on Trial :: Fujimori procesado

Accountability in Action :: Rindiendo cuentas

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It’s not easy to investigate state crimes, says international expert

August 28th, 2008 · No Comments

(From left to right: Presiding Judges Víctor Prado Saldarriaga, César San Martín – President of the Court – and Hugo Príncipe Trujillo)

August 27, 2008

Ninety-fifth session. José Antonio Martín Pallín, former Spanish Supreme Court judge, was presented during this session as an international expert. Martín Pallín, who spoke based on his experience as an international jurist, asserted that in investigating state crimes it is very difficult to obtain evidence since those in power hide or deny the information.

1. Incidents during the hearing


Fujimori’s health

The doctors assigned to Fujimori reported on his health, recommending a routine post-op evaluation following his surgery in July. The Court requested that the necessary arrangements be made between the Institute of Legal Medicine (IML) and National Institute of Neoplastic Illnesses in order to carry out the post-op exam.

More amici curiae

The Court announced that two more amici curiae have been received from international institutions.


Rules for the role of evidence

The Court requested contributions from the Prosecution (including the Public Prosecutor and the lawyers for the victims’ families) and the defense regarding rules for the role of evidence in the trial.


2. International expert – Among the most relevant aspects of José Antonio Martín Pallín’s statements:


Difficulty in finding direct proof for state crimes

Based on his international judicial and academic experience regarding the difficulty in proving state crimes, the judge stated: “It is very difficult to find documental traces of an express order.”


Likewise, he said that based on historical experience, it is known that in state crimes there is always a plan that includes the participation of government leaders as well as security forces — including members of the police, secret service or armed forces.


Crime investigation phase and obstruction attempt

However, measures adopted by the State (such as impunity for those who execute the crimes) can be used to determine responsibility for these crimes in criminal trials. In the case of the Colina Military Detachment, several attempts for impunity were made: the Cantuta Law on Feb. 10, 1994, which permitted the trial for the Cantuta crime to pass from civil to military courts; the Amnesty Law in July 1995; and the attempt to make the Amnesty Law constitutional in the year 2000, when Alberto Fujimori was already leaving power.


Regarding the evidence for these criminal trials, the international expert said: “it is not easy to confront these kinds of investigations or obtain direct proof.” Based on his experience, he also asserted that in the investigation phase, there is generally reluctance to turn in information, either by denying it, arguing that it doesn’t exist anymore or that the information cannot be turned in order to protect national security.


After being tried for state crimes

Martín Pallín also said that when a sentence is given for state crimes, later a “kind of pact” is made, which results in a “symbolic” completion of the sentence or even an amnesty.


3. Next session


At the end of the session, the President of the Court announced that the next session would take place on Sept. 3, when international expert José Luis García will be presented. Afterward, the experts from the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team will speak at the Sept. 5 session and expert Kate Doyle will be presented at the session on Monday, Sept. 8.


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