Former president Alberto Fujimori returns to the defendant chair this Monday, September 28 to face his fourth and final criminal trial in Peru. Since his extradition in September 2007 from Chile, Fujimori has been found guilty in all three trials held to date.
In his first criminal trial, the former head of state was sentenced to six years in prison for forcefully entering the house of Trinidad Becerra, wife of former presidential advisor, Vladimiro Montesinos. Videos that were taken from the house have not resurfaced since.
In his second trial, Fujimori was condemned to 25 years in prison for having command responsibility for the crimes committed by death squad Grupo Colina, including the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta massacres. This sentence has been appealed by Fujimori’s defense team and will soon be ruled on by the Supreme Court, which can uphold, modify or annul the sentence.
Fujimori was later sentenced to seven years in prison in his third trial for having given US $15 million to his advisor Montesinos in the year 2000 as payment for his secret service work. This trial is the only one in which Fujimori pleaded partially guilty since he accepted having taken the money from the Peruvian State and giving it to Montesinos. He added, however, that he quickly replaced the money and thus committed no crime.
Now Fujimori will face his final trial, this time for his alleged responsibility in massively bribing congress members and media owners in the year 2000 so that they would support his second reelection. Numerous videos reveal Montesinos giving vast sums of money to those bribed, who are today in jail or fugitives from justice.
In this trial Fujimori is also being accused of having used illegal wiretapping against his political components in order to use secret information against them. This case is similar to the famous Watergate scandal in Washington, D.C. in June 1972, which ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Vladimiro Montesinos has already testified in prior trials that he was the one who organized and carried out the wiretapping in accordance with Fujimori’s orders. The Public Prosecutor has asked for eight years of prison for Fujimori and they payment of 5 million Peruvian soles (US $1.7 million) and 3 million soles ($1 million) to the victims of the telephonic interference.
In Peru, sentences are not accumulated, thus Fujimori will only serve the highest sentence to date, currently 25 years.
Magistrates César San Martín, Víctor Prado and Hugo Príncipe will preside over this Supreme Court trial.
An estimated 60 witnesses will be summoned to testify before the Court, including Fujimori’s ex-wife Susana Higuchi, ambassador Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, former congressional president Henry Pease and journalists César Hildebrandt and Guillermo Gonzales. Also expected to testify are Nicolás Hermoza Ríos, the former chief of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, and Alberto Kouri, businessman and former congressman who appeared in the first corruption-revealing video that surfaced.
The hearing will begin at 8:30am on Monday morning, in the Judicial Power courtroom located in the police’s Special Operations Office (Diroes) headquarters.
Fujimori’s defense has preferred to maintain absolute silence regarding their position in this new trial. Head lawyer César Nakazaki, however, has hinted to the media that they will put up a strong fight.