Peru government, rights groups hail conviction of ex-president Fujimori

[JURIST] The conviction [JURIST report] of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday was met with widespread approval from the current Peruvian government and human rights organizations. Peruvian Prime Minister Yehuda Simon [official website, in Spanish] said that the verdict highlighted the country's judicial autonomy [press release, in Spanish]. Amnesty International [advocacy website] trial observer Javier Zuniga expressed [press release] the hope that the trial and conviction are "just the first of many trials in both Latin America and throughout the world," characterizing the conviction as a "crucial milestone in the struggle against impunity." Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] senior Americas researcher Maria McFarland, also observing the trial, declared [press release] that "the Peruvian court has shown the world that even former heads of state cannot expect to get away with serious crimes," and said that the conviction is part of the global trend towards accountability. The Washington Office on Latin America [advocacy website] also applauded [press release] the independence and impartiality of the court. In Peru, the Association for Human Rights (APRODEH) [advocacy website, in Spanish] expressed satisfaction with the conviction [press release, in Spanish] and characterized it as the product of the persistent struggle of the victims' family members pushing the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta cases over the past 17 years. In contrast, the pro-Fujimori political coalition Fuerza 2011 [party website, in Spanish] on Monday issued preemptive remarks [YouTube video] by Fujimori's daughter Keiko Fujimori, declaring that unless Fujimori was absolved, the trial would prove to be a vindictive show put on by the very people who believed in terrorism as a political means. Keiko Fujimori also said that she believes the condemnation will only strengthen popular support [Comercio report, in Spanish] for the coalition in the 2011 presidential elections.

Fujimori, who maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings, was convicted on charges of approving the November 1991 killing of 15 people in Lima's Barrios Altos neighborhood [backgrounder] and the July 1992 kidnapping and murder of 10 people [MIT backgrounder] from Lima's La Cantuta University. He has since announced that he will appeal the decision. Also on Tuesday, the US National Security Archives [official website] posted declassified documents [press release and materials] that were used during the trial as evidence, and which came from US officials reporting on the rise of government sponsored death squads in Peru.

 

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