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Amnesty International Calls Fujimori Conviction a Milestone in Fight for Justice

For Immediate Release

Amnesty International Calls Fujimori Conviction a Milestone in Fight for Justice

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

(Lima, Peru) -- Amnesty International hailed the conviction today of former President Alberto Fujimori for torture, kidnapping and enforced disappearances committed during the early 1990s, saying it was a crucial milestone in the struggle against impunity for human rights violations in Peru.
“Justice has been done in Peru,” said Javier Zúñiga, who is Amnesty International’s observer at the trial. “This is historic. It’s not every day that we see a former head of state convicted for human rights violations such as torture, kidnapping and enforced disappearances.

“Now it is vital that all of those responsible for human rights violations committed in Peru, including those perpetrated prior to the government of Alberto Fujimori, be brought before the courts,” said Zúñiga. “Enforced disappearances, torture and rape are not subject to statute of limitations if they are committed on a widespread basis, as happened in Peru.”

The Special Criminal Division of Peru’s Supreme Court ruled in the cases of Barrios Altos (in which 15 men, women and children were executed in 1991), La Cantuta (in which nine students and a university lecturer were kidnapped and later killed in 1992 by members of the Colina Group, a paramilitary force within the Peruvian Army) and the SIE basements (where two kidnap victims were held). The decision, which was unanimously adopted by the three presiding judges, concluded that Fujimori bore individual criminal responsibility in all three cases because he had effective military command over those who committed the crimes.

General background
Amnesty International has been closely following the trial of Alberto Fujimori through local and international observers. At the start of the trial, the organization met with the Special Criminal Division, the Prosecutors, the lawyers acting for the claimants and the lawyer representing the accused. So far, the organization has received no information from any of the parties to the trial to suggest that it was not conducted in an independent and impartial manner.  

Amnesty International has incontrovertible evidence documenting that under the government of Fujimori serious human rights violations and crimes against international law – such as torture, killings and enforced disappearance – were committed. Given their widespread and systematic nature, these constituted crimes against humanity. The organization also found that prior to 1990, human rights violations were widespread and systematic in nature.

The judgment handed down today can be appealed by the defense or the prosecution.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide.  The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
Please visit www.amnestyusa.org for more information.

Suzanne Trimel
Media Relations Director
Amnesty International USA
5 Penn Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10001
201-247-5057 (mobile)

"People everywhere need to be continually reminded that violations of human rights, whether arbitrary arrest and detention, unjust imprisonment, torture, or political assassination, are threats to world peace."
Mumtaz Soysal
Nobel Peace Prize lecture

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