(Judges forming the Court that sentenced Alberto Fujimori to 25 years in prison for human rights violations. From left: Víctor Prado, President of the Court César San Martin, and Hugo Príncipe. Photo: Judicial Power)
Judge removed from Fujimori case
Last Wednesday, César Nakazaki, defense lawyer of former president Alberto Fujimori, announced his recusal against judges César San Martín, Víctor Prado and Hugo Príncipe — members of the court that condemned Fujimori to 25 years for human rights violations.
If approved, the recusal would prevent these judges from presiding over the new trial Fujimori will face for having allegedly ordered a severance pay of US $15 million in the year 2000 to his former advisor Vladimiro Montesinos, today in prison in a Peruvian naval base.
The lawyer argued that the judges demonstrated a lack of impartiality in the first trial and thus cannot guarantee a fair new trial. Rather he believes the trial will be biased since they already have a position against the former president.
However, on Friday, the Special Criminal Court decided that Nakazaki was not completely correct and declared the recusal against César San Martín and Víctor Prado unfounded, but admitted the recusal of Judge Hugo Príncipe.
As a result, Príncipe will not form part of the court that will try Fujimori.
The Special Criminal Court explained that Judge Príncipe formed part of the court that sentenced former ministers Federico Salas, Carlos Boloña and Carlos Bergamino in a previous trial for the case of the $15 million given to Montesinos. Thus the Court decided that Príncipe may already have a position on this case that Fujimori now faces.
For San Martín and Prado, the Court announced in a local press release that “reasonable motives of partiality that assume inadequate exercise of jurisdictional function have not been demonstrated, nor has the existence of a prejudice that implies the formation a previous conviction for or against one of the parties.”
In the following days, the Peruvian Judicial Power must choose a new judge to replace Príncipe. Then the new trial against Fujimori will begin immediately.