Fujimori on Trial :: Fujimori procesado

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Inside the courtroom: Tensions between fujimoristas and victims’ families

The experience of one family member at the hearings of Alberto Fujimori

Since the beginning of the trial, the climate inside the courtroom has been difficult because the fujimoristas make offensive comments about our family members, such as calling them or ourselves terrorists, in voices loud enough to hear. Additionally, they ridicule the testimony of some of the victims, as was the case with Tomas Livias. The day it was his turn to speak, the fujimoristas seated in the courtroom audience said, in a manner intended to be heard, that he is ignorant, that he doesn’t know how to speak, that he hadn’t learned the lines that he had been given, etc., forgetting that he is a survivor of a mass killing and that he has limitations in his use of “language,” so to speak.

We made those comments known to security, and at one point one of the security guards approached Congressman Raffo and told him to “keep the silence.” Raffo then responded: “We are commenting, alright? Don’t go overboard,” in a voice louder than that of the young guard, who became intimidated and backed down.

On Friday, January 25, we asked Gloria Cano to report the comments made by former congresswoman, Carmen Lozada de Gamboa, who, whenever a member of the hearing mentioned the students or the professor, said “the terrorists”, “because they were terrorists”, or “terrorists, and we must call them by their true name.”

When the assassin Alarcón Gonzáles explained how the people from La Cantuta were murdered, Lozada said “well, they were terrorists, they needed to be killed,” and a patrolman, who had just arrived, seated himself in the row behind her and said: “all those terrorist types need to be killed.”

This isn’t the first time that this woman made that sort of comment to offend and anger the families, or to provoke a response from us. Various times I wanted to respond to her but I contained myself to avoid giving her the pretext of having us removed from the hearings, and to not fall into the dirty game that they were looking for. In any case, I think that those kinds of lack of respect should not be permitted in the courtroom; these are people full of hate and only mistreat us.

This is a trial so that “justice” can is done for the deaths of our family members and so that the person in charge can be punished, but it is also a trial about our families’ dignity as well as our own. We will not permit that anyone injure us either physically or morally, much less have them attend the hearings solely to insult us. Because of that, during the mid-day break, we filed a complaint with the chief of security, and we asked our lawyer, Gloria, to do the same in the courtroom, prohibiting entry to that sort of people, who make provoking and bad-mannered remarks; hopefully measures will be taken to avoid acts of that nature. In the afternoon after our complaint when the session reconvened, both Raffo and that woman denied the complaints, but how could Raffo know since he hadn’t been there for the morning session and had just arrived. In any case, did not avoid making comments, and when the agent Tena Jacinto described the steps taken to centralize information within the department of intelligence, the ex-congresswoman said to Raffo while looking at us “I hope they listen to this, it will serve that group of terrorists well to know it”.

Other impasses we have run into are the remarks from their companions in the hall who, when we pass by, say “these terrorist types reek, they smell like dynamite”, or “the only thing that interests them is money”, and referring to the reparations made to the Barrios Altos victims by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Some of those women have now been forbidden entry to the hearings since our complaint to the chief of security.

Meanwhile, the press is more worried in covering the legal aspect and not what happens to the families, which is a shame because it dehumanizes the trial by making it very technical. Some of the media has reported the events, but no one has asked me or anyone else from the families; they have only asked the lawyers. I think the focus for this trial should always be all of the angles without discounting what is felt or thought by a certain group, in this case the families. If anyone cares to ask us, we will always respond.

I am hopeful that when this trial ends, people will then know how misled they were. It might sound idealistic, but I hope attitudes change and that we all learn from this painful experience. I hope.