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Lawyers for victims’ families begin final arguments

February 4th, 2009 · 1 Comment

(Carlos Rivera Paz, lawyer for the victims’ families. Photo: Judicial Power.) 

One hundred forty-first session. The lawyers for the victims’ families began the presentation of their final arguments. Gloria Cano initiated the presentation, requesting “satisfaction measures” for the victims and their families. Following, lawyer Carlos Rivera explained how there was a turning point in counter-subversive efforts beginning in 1991, when Fujimori started conducting a new strategy.

I. Arguments presented by the lawyers for the victims’ families

1. Lawyer Gloria Cano:

1.1  Impunity: Fujimori never ordered any investigation on the crimes perpetrated by the Colina Military Detachment. On the contrary, these crimes were covered up by high military officials in order to secure impunity for those responsible.

1.2  The victims were tortured, murdered and later incinerated to prevent their bodies from being identified.

1.3  “Satisfaction measures” for family members: In accordance with what has been stipulated by the United Nations, Cano requested that the Court include “satisfaction measures,” insisting that all the victims’ remains be found and the victims and their family members to be treated with respect and dignity. To date, the victims and their families have been accused by various groups in Peruvian society of being terrorists; thus their lawyers not only request economic reparations, but also formal recognition that their deceased family members were not members of terrorist organizations.

2. Lawyer Carlos Rivera Paz:

2.1 Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR). Lawyer Rivera made a reference to the CVR’s Final Report in order to explain the armed internal conflict from 1980-2000:

1980-1990: Beginning in 1990, the subversive group Shining Path had already moved from the rural areas into the cities as a result of the self-defense committees. The committees served as armies of indigenous communities that received arms from the federal government in order to defend themselves from the Shining Path. These committees defeated Shining Path in the rural areas.

Furthermore, the armed forces could not continue applying the “land destroying” strategy employed in the 1980s, since it was increasingly more difficult to cover up. This strategy murdered entire communities that were merely being suspected of terrorism, two examples being the cases of Putis and Accomarca.

Thus there was a change in the counter-subversive strategy, which became more planned and systematic, reducing the percentage of human rights violations from 1990 onward.

2.2 Turning point and new strategy in 1991: There is a distinction in the counter-subversive policies employed from 1980 to 1990 (during Fernando Belaúnde’s presidency from 1980-1985 and Alan García’s first presidency from 1985-1990) and the beginning of Alberto Fujimori’s government. 

This new counter-subversive policy, which included a dirty war and the elimination — extrajudicial execution — of suspected terrorists, was set forth in the Non-Conventional War Manual document: “Through this document, the war was no longer understood as a military action. Intelligence started to become a key aspect in the war against subversive groups.”

Rivera argued that Fujimori headed all of the actions involved through his position of power over the armed forces, ordering them directly and verbally to commit crimes against humanity. One of the people who had a decisive role in carrying out these orders was Vladimiro Montesinos, Fujimori’s top presidential advisor.

2.3 Characteristics of the new counter-subversive strategy:

· Predominant role of intelligence

· Establishment of special intelligence groups, such as the Colina Military Detachment, in order to eliminate (execute) alleged members of subversive groups.

· Intelligence actions focused on cities rather than rural areas.

· National Intelligence Service (SIN) assumed a very powerful role, becoming a director of the new strategy. The power system, which was partly run by Montesinos, functioned from within the SIN.

2.4 Changes in the Armed Forces: Within this new strategy directed by the SIN, changes in the armed forces’ functioning were made. Fujimori appointed Nicolás de Bari Hermoza Ríos as president of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces and chief of the Internal Front Operative Command (COFI).

· Control of counter-subversive military operations, which remained under Fujimori’s control through a directive that gave operative power to the Joint Command.

· This control over the Armed Forces was consolidated when Hermoza Ríos assumed the presidency of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces. This command was previously a collegiate body, but this changed when Hermoza became president. As confirmed by Arnaldo Velarde, the president of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces before Hermoza: “when Hermoza Ríos assumed the COFI and the Joint Command, we didn’t meet anymore.”

II. Outside the courtroom

Sentence issued for Indalecio Pomatanta Albarrán case.

On March 7, 1995, during Alberto Fujimori’s government, a battalion from the Peruvian Navy emitted an order for the counter-subversive bases to carry out patrol operations from March 29 to April 7 due to concerns of Shining Path attacks before elections.

As a result of these patrol operations, Indalecio Pomatanta Albarrán, a 17-year old boy, was burned alive by navy officials on April 2, 1995. The officials involved include:

  1. Andrés Egocheaga Salazar, Commander of the naval base
  2. Jorge Luis Rabanal Claderón, First Lieutenant
  3. José Spencer Guido Dávalos
  4. Pedro Rodríguez Rivera
  5. Mario Peña Ramírez

Albarrán survived for four days after the burning, interned in a local hospital. During this time, he gave interviews and explicitly told what had happened to him. The youth died on April 6 as a result of severe burns.

According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, after the crime, the armed forces had “an open attitude of covering up [the crime]. They hindered investigations and clarification of what happened and got the military court to begin a trial only for negligence, which was stunted after the application of an amnesty law on September 13, 1995.”

After 13 years, the Peruvian Judicial Power condemned Andrés Egoachaga to 20 years in prison. However, three others who were tried for the same case were absolved. Guido Dávalos never appeared in court at all and remains a fugitive.

Presumed attack against Public Prosecutor.

On the night of Saturday, Jan. 31, three armed persons attacked the vehicle carrying Peruvian Attorney General Gladyz Echaíz, preventing the car from advancing, and one of the armed persons shot at the vehicle as well as its tires.

Though Echaíz believes this was an attempt to murder her, the Minister of the Interior believes the attack’s objective was merely theft.

According to Public Prosecutor Avelino Guillén, who represents the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the trial against Alberto Fujimori: “The message is clear: it seeks to intimidate those of us who are in some way contributing to condemning serious crimes. What they are trying to do is scare the democratic system, which has established norms and rules that have been sanctioning those who have committed crimes. They want to give a brutal and demented answer to the requests of the Public Prosecutor’s Office for justice in hopes that it breaks.”

III. Next session

The Court adjourned the session until Wednesday, Feb. 4, at which time the lawyers for the victims’ families will continue presenting their final arguments.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Infante // Jan 24, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Esos individuos de los derechos humanos, esos son los terroristas y deberian ser colgados y erradicados del Peru. Por ellos el terrorismo no acaba en el Peru, por ellos valerosos militares son juzgados injustamente.

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