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Judges show signs of disagreement on Fujimori’s upcoming appeal

November 4th, 2009 · No Comments

 (Dr. José Peláez, Peruvian public prosecutor in the former president Fujimori’s trial for rights abuses.  Photo: Praxis) 


Peruvian Supreme Court judges who will soon rule on the appeal of former president Alberto Fujimori’s 25 year sentence for human rights violations are already showing differences in opinion on whether the charges of aggravated kidnapping should be included in his conviction.

On April 7 of this year, after a seventeen-month trial, Peruvian courts found that Mr. Fujimori held command responsibility for the extrajudicial execution of 25 people and the kidnapping of a businessman and journalist that occurred during his presidential term.

According to inside sources, three of the judges from the Supreme Court’s Transitory Criminal Court who will rule on Fujimori’s appeal have said privately that the legal arguments do not point to aggravated kidnapping, but rather simple kidnapping.  In contrast, the other two judges believe that the arguments do confirm aggravated kidnapping.

The difference between the these two crimes is whether violence was employed: aggravated kidnapping implies that the victim was handled violently while simple kidnapping is restricted to the act of depriving the victim of his freedom.

This dates back to an argument for simple kidnapping given by Public Prosecutor Pablo Sánchez on reviewing the appeal of Fujimori’s case.  This reasoning contradicts the arguments made by Public Prosecutor José Peláez, who represented the Peruvian state in Fujimori’s human rights trial.

Sánchez explained that the kidnap victims, Gustavo Gorriti and Samuel Dyer, were not cruelly treated, meaning they did not suffer any unnecessary violence on being kidnapped.  Gorriti, for instance, was even allowed to receive visits, giving evidence that he was not subject to cruel treatment.  Likewise, testimonies indicate that Dyer was not victim of any action that could be considered cruelty.

However, the Supreme Court judges are waiting until next week for the appeal’s trial in order to hear each party’s version before reaching a final decision.

Determining if Fujimiori is guilty of aggravated or simple kidnapping could indeed make a difference when the court decides to reduce, uphold or annul the 25-year sentence. 

Inside sources indicated that the judges have shown no disagreements regarding Fujimori’s charges for murder and grave damages or his command responsibility in the acts.

This appeal hearing has been set for Nov. 23 and 25, after which the judges will have a fixed period of time to make a final decision.