Justices have 15 Days to Resolve the Recusal of the Members of the Special Criminal Court
Justice Hugo Príncipe will not join the group that will try the ex-president
César Nakasaki, Alberto Fujimori’s attorney, argued that justices César San Martín y Víctor Prado are biased against Fujimori this Wednesday in a public hearing in the Supreme Court’s Transient Criminal Court. He argued that because of this bias, they should not be part of the court that will soon be starting a new criminal proceeding against the ex-president for giving $15 million to Vlaimiro Montesinos in 2000.
Nakasaki reiterated that he was recusing these justices because they have shown that they are only interested in looking for a legal way in which to condemn Fujimori and they will not perform their job as impartial arbitrators. This is the same argument that Nakasaki used three weeks ago before another court that reviewed the first recusal against San Martin, Prado y Hugo Príncipe. During this prior recusal, the court ruled in favor of Nakasaki and consequently Príncipe was removed from Fujimori’s trial. Nevertheless, not satisfied with this judicial decision, Nakasaki appealed and therefore the Transient Criminal Court will decide whether San Martin and Prado will follow in Príncipe’s footsteps.
During the public hearing, which was held in the Peruvian Justice Palace, the justices of the Transient Criminal court also heard the Public Prosecutor’s (Avelino Guillén’s) arguments – who corrected his original position on the issue. Earlier, he had indicated in his opinion that the three justices being recused by Nakasaki should try Fujimori and that there was no reason they should be removed from the case.
Now, following the decision of a prosecutor with a higher rank, Guillén revealed that the Public Prosecutor is in agreement that Príncipe should be removed from the case and insistes that San Martín and Prado try the ex-chief of state. Consequently, Príncipe will not serve on Fujimori’s new criminal trial.
The Transient Criminal Court has 15 days to resolve the controversy between the Fujimori’s defense and the Public Prosecutor. If the court accepts Nakasaki’s position, then the judiciary will have to select three other justices to serve on Fujimori’s new trial. If it supports the Public Prosecutor’s position, then the judiciary would have to select a new justice to replace Hugo Príncipe.
Either way, the ex-president’s new trial will begin in the first half of June.