IACHR EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER DECREE 1097 IN PERU
Washington, D.C., September 9, 2010—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its concern over the adoption of Legislative Decree No. 1097 in Peru.
According to the information received, the decree, adopted on August 31, 2010, regulates the application of procedural laws for crimes involving human rights violations. Article 6 contemplates the possibility that the judiciary can issue a “partial dismissal decision to the benefit of anyone facing charges whose case has suffered an excessively long investigation.” The information available suggests that these and other provisions of Legislative Decree No. 1097 could imply serious obstacles to pursuing cases that involve crimes against humanity, war crimes, and serious human rights violations, some of which have been the subject of statements by the Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
The Inter-American Commission has indicated repeatedly that the failure to investigate and punish cases involving serious human rights violations is incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Peru has been a party since July 28, 1978. Along these same lines, in the judgment issued in 2001 in the Case of Barrios Altos v. Peru, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights stated that “all amnesty provisions, provisions on prescription and the establishment of measures designed to eliminate responsibility are inadmissible, because they are intended to prevent the investigation and punishment of those responsible for serious human rights violations.” The IACHR has also held that impunity with respect to cases of crimes against humanity fosters the repetition of activities that are contrary to democracy and human rights.
In this regard, the IACHR is concerned about the possibility that this decree could lead to impunity in hundreds of cases involving serious human rights violations that occurred during the armed conflict that Peru experienced in the 1980s and 1990s—especially since civil society and Peru’s Office of the Ombudsman have suggested repeatedly that the executive branch has kept these trials from moving forward. Among other things, they have alleged that the State has not assigned sufficient resources to public prosecutors’ offices to prosecute these cases and that agencies connected to the executive branch, particularly the Ministry of Defense, have refused to turn over information, even in cases in which they were ordered to by the courts.
Given the foregoing, the Inter-American Commission urges the authorities of Peru to adopt the necessary measures so that human rights violations do not remain in impunity, particularly bearing in mind the State’s obligations in light of international treaties governing this area.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.
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