January 26, 2009
One hundred thirty-ninth session. The Public Prosecutor’s Office continued to present its final arguments in order to prove that former President Alberto Fujimori had command responsibility for the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta massacres, as well as the kidnapping of journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer. In a separate trial for the crimes of Barrios Altos, El Santa and the murder of journalist Pedro Yauri, two suspected former members of the Colina Military Detachment were released from police custody.
I. Arguments presented by Public Prosecutor’s Office
La Cantuta crime ordered by Fujimori as response to Tarata street bombing.
As the head of the power system, Fujimori ordered for a response to the bombing by subversive group Shining Path of Tarata street in the Lima district of Miraflores on July 16, 1992. This response, carried out by the Colina Military Detachment, came two days later at the university in La Cantuta.
Military officials Nicolás de Bari Hermoza Ríos (then Commander General of the Peruvian Army), Juan Nolberto Rivero (then director of the Army Intelligence Office, DINTE) and army official Santiago Martin Rivas played an important part in the La Cantuta crime as well as the power system, which was described in detail by the Public Prosecutor.
Benedicto Jiménez — former member of the police’s Special Intelligence Group (GEIN) that captured Shining Path leader Abimael Guzmán and participated in disarticulating the subversive group — already testified in this trial that according to police intelligence, neither the Barrios Altos nor La Cantuta victims were Shining Path members.
The Public Prosecutor also reiterated that Fujimori gave direct orders to members of the Armed Forces, citing 30 documents as evidence.
Hermoza Ríos’ testimony reveals that Fujimori knew of La Cantuta crime immediately.
According to the Public Prosecutor, Hermoza Ríos has testified that he was immediately informed by Vladimiro Montesinos — Fujimori’s top presidential advisor — about the murders perpetrated by the Colina detachment at La Cantuta. Vladimiro also told him that Fujimori was already aware of the crime.
Later, an impunity strategy was developed in order to protect the members of the Colina detachment as well as those involved in the power system.
The Public Prosecutor also reminded that Hermoza Ríos has already confirmed in testimony before the Judicial Power that there was a military detachment of Colina’s magnitude and that, as the nation’s president, Fujimori had to have known about it. This was Hermoza Ríos’ testimony before his defense lawyer, César Nakazaki, started representing Fujimori, while the former president was still a fugitive in Japan.
Decoration of Colina members after found guilty of Cantuta crime.
The Public Prosecutor reminded that in July 1994, Colina agents Nelson Carvajal García, Pedro Supo Sánchez and Jesús Sosa Saavedra were decorated with the “National Peace Ribbon,” as ordered by Hermoza Ríos, even though Carvajal and Sosa were serving prison sentences after being found guilty for the Cantuta crime by military courts.
II. Outside the courtroom
Fujimori’s defense lawyers questions sentence.
Through the Peruvian legal action known as an “exceptional complaint to rights,” Fujimori’s defense has demanded the revision of the sentence declaring the former president guilty of abuse of power in the case of illegal entry.
On Jan. 27, the Judicial Power’s Transitory Criminal Court listened to the defense’s arguments to annul the sentence, as well as the Public Prosecutor’s arguments to reject the defense’s complaint. This question should be settled in the next few days.
Two former Colina agents released without a sentence
On Tuesday, Jan. 27, military officials Douglas Arteaga Pascual and >Ángel Pino Díaz, who were formerly members of the Colina Military Detachment, were released from police custody after having been held for 72 months without receiving a sentence in their trial for the Barrios Altos and El Santa crimes and murder of journalist Pedro Yauri. According to other Colina agents, Arteaga, known as “Abadía,” went undercover as a Shining Path member and indicated the building in Barrios Altos where the subversive group was supposedly going to hold a meeting.
III. Next session
The Public Prosecutor’s Office stated its expectation to finish presenting final arguments during the next session, scheduled to take place Wednesday, Jan. 28.