No. 35/02





Today Dr. Marta Altolaguirre, Vice-President of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) and Rapporteur for Peru, completed her working visit, which lasted from August 18 to August 22, 2002.  The principal purpose of the visit was to hold working meetings regarding implementation of the recommendations to the Peruvian State made by the Inter-American Commission. There was also time for some promotional work and a visit to the Challapalca prison in the Department of Tacna. Dra. Altolaguirre was accompanied during her visit by two IACHR lawyers, Dr. Ignacio J. Alvarez and Dr. Pedro E. Díaz R.


The Commission is a principal organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) and is charged with promoting, protecting, and defending human rights in the Americas. The Commission derives its power mainly from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights, both of which were ratified by the Republic of Peru. The Commission is composed of seven commissioners, who are elected in their personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.


During its stay, the Commission interviewed government authorities and representatives of different sectors of civil society. Among the authorities they met were:  Dr. Allan Wagner Tizón, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Fausto Alvarado Dodero, Minister of Justice; Dr. Walter Alban, Ombudsman; Dra. Nelly Calderón Navarro, Attorney General; and Mrs. Ana María Romero-Lozada, Minister for Women and Social Development. The Vice President also met Dr. Salomón Lerner and Sofia Macher, members of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. She also met Dr. Francisco Soberón, Executive Secretary of the National Coordinator of Human Rights; representatives of other nongovernmental organizations in Peruvian civil society; and victims and relatives of victims referred to in cases brought to the attention of the IACHR. A meeting was also held with relatives of inmates of the Challapalca prison.


In February 2001, the Peruvian State committed itself formally and publicly to reaching integral settlements of the violations of human rights pointed to by the Commission in 105 final reports that were adopted and published in accordance with Article 51 of the American Convention on Human Rights. These reports cover 159 cases related to forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions for which the Peruvian State was found responsible and regarding which recommendations were made in connection with the investigation and punishment of those responsible for those human rights violations and reparation for members of the victims’ families. The Inter-American Commission has accordingly been monitoring implementation of those recommendations, in ongoing talks and meetings with representatives of the Peruvian state, relatives of the victims, and with nongovernmental organizations that submitted the cases to the IACHR.


In that context, the Commission met the Inter-Institutional Working Group for Follow-up on the IACHR recommendations, which was established by the Peruvian State to look for integral settlements and comply with the aforementioned recommendations.  The Group informed the Commission about matters related to projects and actions designed to implement the recommendations. The Commission noted with satisfaction the Peruvian State’s intention to extend the term of the aforementioned Inter-Institutional Working Group. The IACHR was told of the creation and appointment of a Special State Prosecutor for cases of forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and exhumations in clandestine graves. The Commission trusts that the Peruvian State will strengthen that State Prosecutor’s Office by providing it with sufficient human, logistical, and budgetary resources.





n the course of its meetings, the Commission was told that the Government had submitted to Congress a bill amending the anti-terrorist legislation in effect in Peru since 1992.  On numerous occasions, the IACHR had recommended changing antiterrorist laws in order to bring them into line with the American Convention on Human Rights, the judgments of the Court, and decisions taken by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. It is essential that the new legislation conform to such international standards.


The Commission received petitions regarding inhumane and degrading prison conditions at the jail in Challapalca.  In its Second Report on the Human Rights Situation in Peru, published in 2002, the Commission expressly recommended closing that prison. During a meeting with the Minister of Justice, Dr. Fausto Alvarado Dodero, the Minister told the Vice President of the Commission that he would comply with the IACHR’s recommendation and proceed to close that penitentiary. The Commission appreciates those statements by the Minister and trusts that the prison at Challapalca will be closed as soon as possible. Lawyers from the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR are currently visiting the prison at Challapalca to verify the situation there and will report back to the Commission.


In the framework of this visit, the IACHR met with representatives of the Peruvian State and victims involved in the Five Pensioners case currently before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, regarding failure to comply with judgments of Peru’s Supreme Court and the Constitutional Tribunal. For several years now, the Commission has been monitoring the consequences, for the full exercise of the rule of law, of the Peruvian State’s failure to comply with judgments.


The Commission would like to thank the Peruvian authorities for their hospitality and for the facilities provided in the course of this visit. In particular, it is grateful for the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which assured the success of the visit.  We should also like to thank nongovernmental organizations and the OAS Office in Peru for their invaluable assistance.


Lima, August 23, 2002