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Lawyers for the victims’ families conclude arguments

February 16th, 2009 · No Comments

 (David Velasco, one of the lawyers representing the victims’ families. Photo: Judicial Power)

February 9, 2009 

One hundred forty-fourth session. The lawyers for the victims’ families concluded their final arguments for this trial. Lawyers Ronald Gamarra, David Velazco and Antonio Salazar asserted the national and international significance of this trial, as well as the importance of a verdict that requires comprehensive reparations for the victims and their family members.

I. Final arguments presented

1.  Ronald Gamarra

Trial’s moral, political and educational significance

Gamarra stated that the national and international significance of this trial is that a former president has been brought to justice, which “is an authentic, judicial trial that follows due process and is not a vendetta.” Thus, he said, its purpose is not to achieve “a blindly condemning sentence, but rather a sentence that is based on solid reason, that will serve as civic education for the Peruvian public and the country’s democracy.”

In this way, this “is not a political trial, but a judicial process directed by judges who have undergone extensive education in legal procedures and university professorship.” Therefore, Gamarra claimed this is a significant trial since it “aspires to obtain a legal and just sanction; not to lynch the defendant.”

For this reason, this trial has triple importance: moral, political and educational. Furthermore, “whoever breaks the law deserves punishment, whether he is weak or powerful, big or small, a politician or an ordinary citizen.”

2. David Velasco (lawyer at the Ecumenical Foundation for Development and Peace, FEDEPAZ)

Integral reparations for victims

Velasco said in cases of human rights violations, the concept of reparation goes beyond economic remuneration and essentially includes the establishment of truth and justice. In this way, reparations also go beyond what is established in the Peruvian Penal Code since the Peruvian State must recognize the set of norms and jurisprudence in International Human Rights Law, in accordance with various treaties, conventions and protocols that the State has signed.

Velasco also assert that reparation implies compensating for the consequences of the harm generated; however, financial compensation is not enough since measures of satisfaction and guarantees that these abuses will not be repeated must also be included.  

Velasco asked the Court to include satisfaction measures for the survivors and their family members as well as the victims who were murdered. He also asked for rehabilitation measures so that family members and survivors have access to specialized physical and psychological attention.

Velasco emphasized that these satisfaction measures also require the Court to expressly recognize in the sentence that there were direct and indirect victims of Fujimori’s orders, and to recognize that the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta victims were not terrorists.

These measures should also include an order to find the rest of the La Cantuta victims’ remains, he said, since only parts of the bodies have been found to date.

Finally, Velasco said the measures should include publishing the sentence in the official newspaper “El Peruano,” and should urge current President Alan García and Congress to take action and modify national legislation to respect the parameters established by international law and international human rights doctrine.

3. Antonio Salazar García

Salazar’s arguments centered on paying homage to the victims and reiterated the legitimate expectation their family members to reach truth, justice and integral reparations.

II. Outside the courtroom

Case against Fujimori’s daughter shelved

The Peruvian Supreme Court permanently shelved an investigation against Keiko Fujimori, Alberto Fujimori’s daughter, for the alleged deviation of donation funds during her father’s government when she served as Peru’s First Lady.

Keiko, a congresswoman for the fujimorista party, is considering running in the next presidential elections and stated that if elected, she would pardon her father.

She has also criticized the work carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office and recently stated that a possible guilty verdict for Alberto Fujimori would favor fujimorismo.

Trial begins for massacre in the 80s

The Judicial Power began a trial for the forced disappearance of 54 people in an army base in Ayacucho — the city that was most affected during the internal armed conflict from 1980 to 2000.

The forced disappearance is estimated to have taken place in 1983 and army officials have been accused for the murders. These kinds of massacres were common in the first stage of the armed conflict. Lawyers for the families of the La Cantuta and Barrios Altos victims argued that later, during Fujimori’s government, there was a turning point and a new, more systematic and planned counter-subversion strategy was developed.

Request for former SIE chief’s freedom denied

The Judicial Power denied requests to free Carlos Edmundo Sánchez Noriega, chief of the Army Intelligence Service (SIE) from 1996 to 1997. Sánchez is currently being tried for the case of Mariela Barreto, a former SIE agent who was murdered in March 1996.

Barreto had had a son with Santiago Martin Rivas, operative leader of the Colina Military Detachment. Furthermore, Juan Rivero Lazo, former director of the Army Intelligence Office (DINTE) testified in 2001, while Fujimori was still in Japan, that Vladimiro Montesinos ordered for Barreto to be murdered.

III. Next session

The trial was adjourned until Monday, Feb. 16, when Fujimori’s defense will begin its final arguments.

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