At its 83rd session, the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights approved a Special Report that describes the human rights
situation in Peru since April 5, 1992.
The report, provisionally approved in October 1992, was sent to
the Government of Peru in November of that year for any observations it
deemed necessary. Since that provisional report was sent, there have been new
developments in the human rights situation that the Commission believes
should be presented in this section.
In relation to the right to a fair trial, to due process of law
and judicial guarantees, the Commission has received extensive
information on the reservations that individuals and agencies charged
with protecting human rights have expressed in regard to the new
anti-terrorist laws. It has
been said that in the summary trials of persons charged with being
members of the Peruvian Communist Party (Shining Path) the rights of the
accused have not been respected. Their
right to defend themselves has been particularly impaired as their
defense attorneys are given little time to acquaint themselves with the
charges, confer with their clients and prepare their arguments.
Some prisoners were placed under military jurisdictions far from
their places of residence. There
is the case of Miguel Fernando Ruíz-Conejo Márquez (case 11087) who,
according to the petition, was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment
in the Manco Capac Garrison at Puno, two days before his defense
attorney in Lima received notification of the trial date.
Later, on appeal, the Military Tribunal changed the sentence to
thirty years' imprisonment.
It has been reported to the Commission that two members of the
Democratic Lawyers Association, Dr. Alfredo Crespo and Dr. Jorge
Cartagena--the former the defense attorney for Abimael Guzmán and the
latter the defense attorney for Osmán Morote and Marta Huatay--,were
arrested in Lima on January 11, 1993, brought before a military court
charged with collaborating with terrorists and convicted in a summary
proceeding to thirty years' imprisonment.
The petitions received point out that the right to self defense
has been violated and the trials of the two lawyers were not conducted
in accordance with the principles of due process of law to which they
are entitled and that the
convictions set a very serious precedent for attorneys serving as
defense counsel for individuals accused of terrorism, especially when
one considers that the specific charges against Dr. Crespo and Dr.
Cartagena, the evidence and the procedure used to weigh that evidence
were not made public.
The Commission has also received serious complaints concerning
the legal proceedings in the case of the 13 officers detained on
November 13, 1992, on charges of preparing a military movement to
restore the constitutional order that they believe was abolished on
April 5, 1992. According to information the Commission has received, the
detainees Division General Jaime Salinas Sedó and José Pastor Vives;
Brigade Generals Luis Soriano Morgan, Ernesto Obando Salas and Manuel
Obando Salas; Colonels Jorge Noblecilla and César Martínez; Commanders
Enrique Aguilar del Alcazar, Arturo Moreno Alcántara and Marco Zárate
Rotta, and Majors César Cáceres Haro, Hugo Ormeño and Salvador
Carmona, have been placed under military jurisdiction.
The prosecutor has asked for fifteen years' imprisonment and that
each be required to pay three million dollars in damages.
The final sentences ranged from three months to eight years
imprisonment. Some were also ordered to pay pecuniary damages on the order
of two thousand dollars.
Again in reference to due process, it was pointed out that the
courts that tried the 13 officers were not impartial, that the charges
against them do not constitute crimes under the Constitution of Peru,
and that in at least four cases the evidence in the trials was based on
confessions gotten by means of torture.
The individuals in question state that they were tortured at the
National Intelligence Service and that someone with that service,
retired captain Vladimiro Montesinos, participated directly.
It has also been said that the defense attorneys have been
subject to various forms of pressure, which forced Dr. Alberto Borea Odría,
the defense attorney for General Salinas Sedó and President of the
dissolved Senate, to take asylum in the Costa Rican Embassy and then to
It should be pointed out that the majority bloc in the
Constitutional Congress voted against any possibility of amnesty for the
then accused military men. This
position was at variance with President Fujimori's earlier position, who
had declared that the way was now clear for a swift presidential pardon
for anyone whom he might choose to pardon.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has received
extensive information indicating that freedom of expression has been
curtailed in a variety of ways since April 5, 1992.
In general, there is some degree of uncertainty because of the
legal and institutional changes that have been made and that affect
other rights, as discussed earlier.
Because the judiciary is subject to the dictates of the executive
branch, some of the media that have been critical of the Government have
had legal action taken against them that has adversely affected exercise
of freedom of expression.
The most notable case reported is that of the director of the
prestigious weekly Caretas, Enrique Zileri.
On August 3, 1992, the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court
ordered that he pay ten thousand dollars in damages for what the Chamber
considered to be defamation of National Intelligence Service official
Vladimiro Montesinos. Measures were ordered that restricted Mr. Zileri's rights.
By court order, he can no longer travel abroad because he is
required to appear before the court each month "to report and
explain his actions." It
was reported that Mr. Montesinos has twice asked the court "to
reverse the suspension of the sentence given to the convicted and carry
out the sentence by ordering his incarceration in a prison."
The judge has since ordered the weekly Caretas to refrain
from mentioning the name of Mr. Montesinos.
It was pointed out that the members of the Criminal Chamber of
the Supreme Court who convicted Zileri were all appointed since April 5.
It is said that a situation of such consequence for freedom of
expression in Peru as Mr. Zileri's imprisonment would be, has happened
because the judiciary is answerable to the dictates of the executive
Also during this period covered by this report, a police
investigation has been conducted of journalist Ricardo Uceda, director
of the weekly Sí, at the request of Defense Minister General Víctor
Malca. The police investigation was requested because of a report
that the weekly published in connection with the killing of 15 people in
a Lima neighborhood called Barrios Altos, on November 6, 1991.
Recent reports made public in Lima linked the State's
intelligence services with these killings and mentioned that the weekly Sí
had published the news. The
prosecutor who was investigating the killings was transferred and then
separated from service on April 5, 1992.
Also in connection with freedom of expression, journalist Magno
Sosa, a correspondent with the newspaper La República, was
arbitrarily arrested on September 5, 1992, charged with being a member
of the Peruvian Communist Party (Shining Path).
Though there was no evidence against him, journalist Sosa
remained in prison, along with others accused of being terrorists, until
February 1, 1993. His personal safety was seriously imperiled.
On June 23, 1992, radio journalist Pedro Yauri Bustamante was
arrested in Huaura, north of Lima.
According to reports, the arrest was made by individuals who
identified themselves as members of DINCOTE, a special anti-terrorist
unit with the Police. Neither
the Technical Police nor the National Police would accept the complaint
filed by the victim's father and the court denied the petition of habeas
corpus filed on his behalf. Pedro
Yauri Bustamante is still disappeared.
As for political violence caused by irregular armed groups, the
Commission has received information on the actions described below,
which are attributed to the Peruvian Communist Party (Shining Path).
Those actions are grave violations of principles and norms of
international humanitarian law and transgress individual rights
protected under the American Convention and the Universal Declaration of
As for political rights, since April 5, 1992, the right to vote
has been exercised on two occasions in Peru:
the first time was November 22, 1992, when elections were held to
elect the members of the so-called Democratic Constitutional Congress;
the second time was January 23, 1993, when municipal elections were
The elections on November 22 were observed by personnel under the
Secretary General of the Organization of American States, pursuant to
decisions adopted by the ad hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
None of Peru's traditional political parties participated in
these elections. According to reports received by the Commission, their
nonparticipation was due to the fact that there was no possibility of
any meaningful election campaign since the dialogue between the
Administration and the parties represented in the dissolved Congress,
originally requested by the ad hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign
Affairs, never materialized. According
to some of Peru's principal political leaders, without that genuine
dialogue, there was no way to establish a method and a procedure that
would give the elections all the properties of an authentically
democratic process. They
also noted that all officials on the Electoral Council were appointed
without conferring with the parties and that the parties and major
political leaders were the target of attacks, hardly conditions
conducive to democratic elections.
The present Congress has legislative and constitutional
authorities and the majority is controlled by the Cambio 90 and the
Nueva Mayoría alliance, both of which support President Fujimori.
As mentioned earlier, the municipal elections held on January 23,
1993, were preceded by another wave of terrorist attacks that left
twelve candidates for mayor and town councilman dead.
These elections were also monitored by personnel under the
Secretary General of the Organization of American States, pursuant to
decisions adopted earlier by the ad hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign
Affairs that closed on December 14, 1992.
According to reports, the votes were very scattered in these
elections because there were so many candidates running for office.
The traditional and newly established parties received a much
smaller share of the votes cast than in the past.
The Cambio 90 party carried only one of the 1800 mayoral
positions, running a candidate who had previously belonged to one of the
traditional parties. The
incumbent mayor of Lima, who is a political independent, was reelected.
The exercise of political rights in Peru has, therefore, been
affected by the profound changes at work in that member State.
Some of those changes are very much a function of terrorist
activity, while others are an attempt to reestablish the basic
postulates of the system of representative democracy, combining them so
that they are responsive to the economic, social and cultural rights,
the rule of law, separation of powers, and respect for the basic rights
recognized in the American Convention on Human Rights.
The Commission has noted with satisfaction the "Agreement on
Procedure for the conduct of visits by the International Committee of
the Red Cross to Peruvian Detention Centers," adopted on March 4 of
this year in Peru by the President of the Council of Ministers and
Minister of Foreign Relations and the President of the ICRC.
On March 10, 1993 the Peruvian Government extended an invitation
to the Commission to conduct an on-site visit to Peru, preferably during
the last half of April. The
Commission accepted the invitation and will soon fix the date and
program for this visit.