Fujimori’s role in the slayings of 25 people by death squads during the 1990-1992 guerrilla war: a legacy of polarizing figures in Peru
Fujimori, 85, was serving a 25-year sentence in connection with the slayings of 25 Peruvians by death squads in the 1990s. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights asked for a delay to study the ruling by the Constitutional court, who ordered his immediate release.
Then, in 1992, the clandestine military squad kidnapped and killed nine students and a professor from the Enrique Guzmán y Valle University. Forensic experts reported the victims were tortured and shot in the back of the head.
The first of the two massacres he is accused of plotting occurred in 1991 in a poverty-stricken Lima neighborhood. The eight-year-old child at the party was one of 15 people shot and killed.
Fujimori remains a polarizing figure in Peru. His policies improved the country’s economy and pulled it out of a cycle of hyperinflation. But he also used the military to dissolve Congress and rewrite the constitution as well as to crack down on guerrilla violence.
The Peruvian Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the release of a human rights-violating politician and its presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, on Wednesday said the Constitutional Court’s order to release Fujimori “is a worrying setback,” adding that “any humanitarian release of those responsible for serious human rights violations must be in accordance with international law.”
“We live in an orphanhood because we do not have institutions of any kind capable of defending us,” Gisela Ortiz, sister of one of the victims for whom Fujimori was convicted, told The Associated Press. Human rights issues have little to do with the image of a country where the rights of victims are not guaranteed.
Two members of the court opposed the pardon, but they did not know about it. That would not have been necessary, as the court would not have helped draft it due to their stance on the matter.
Peru’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of a humanitarian pardon granted to Fujimori on Christmas Eve in 2017 by then-President Pablo Kuczynski. The Inter- American Court of Human Rights pressured the country’s Supreme Court to overturn the pardon and make the former strongman serve out his sentence.
Fujimori, wearing a face mask and getting supplemental oxygen, walked out of the prison door and got in a sport utility vehicle driven by his daughter-in-law. He sat in the backseat with son and daughter, right-wing career politician Keiko Fujimori. Dozens of supporters awaited him outside the prison and swarmed the vehicle as it attempted to move. It was slow through the streets as people chanted and banged on the windows.
Many Peruvians view President Dina Boluarte as having blood on her hands. She has refused to resign and claims that Peru is “calm and at peace.” But few citizens, just 8% of whom approve of her performance, agree.
It’s the same issue as the investigation into the killings of dozens of anti-government protesters by security forces in December and January.
The decision to release Fujimori from prison, where he was sentenced to a 25-year term for orchestrating a massacre of 25 suspected rebels during his 1990-2000 presidency, was met by protests in the country.
Fujimori’s 1992 murder conviction in Thailand is a slap in the face that hurts our soul, and why we need a pardon
Looking frail but happy, Fujimori was using supplemental oxygen and wearing a surgical mask as he was embraced by his son Kenji, a former congressman, and daughter Keiko, a three-time presidential runner-up, in front of cheering crowds, before getting into an SUV.
This sentence is not about revenge but about justice. She says that the victims of human rights abuses are lost in the shuffle. “They should be first and foremost when pardons are considered and that has not happened here.”
Cardinal Pedro Barreto, the country’s highest-ranking archbishop, described the pardon as a “slap in the face that hurts our soul.” He added: “It’s important to transmit calm while also expressing our indignation.”
But billions of dollars vanished from public coffers on his watch and, in 1992, he trashed the constitution by abruptly shuttering congress and the courts.
He is facing several future trials and it is not clear how the pardon will affect them. One of those trials, for a massacre by a clandestine death squad in the coastal town of Pativilca, is due to start later this month.
Thousands of poor and Indigenous women were tricked into being sterilized, against their will, thanks to the case of forced-sterillation. In order to try Fujimori for the case that was brought after his deportation from Thailand in 2007, prosecutors have applied for permission to do so in their country of residence.
His pardon came soon after the deeply unpopular conservative congress, with just 6% approval, was accused of killing the country’s fragile democracy, including packing institutions such as the constitutional court with unqualified candidates.