December 1997               Vol. 9, No. 4 (B)




In the past few years, the human rights panorama in Peru has brightened considerably because of the decline in the massive "disappearances" and extrajudicial executions that has accompanied reduced political violence. Despite this positive trend, however, serious human rights violations continue, chief among them the use of torture. With the success of the Alberto Fujimori administration in substantially crippling the armed opposition groups' military capacity, counterinsurgency efforts are now conducted principally through a system of special anti-terrorism courts and military tribunals, backed by a ubiquitous intelligence apparatus. Institutionalized torture plays a key role in this system. Torture is also routine in the interrogation of suspects in cases of common crime. The army has even used torture against its own members who came under suspicion of endangering national security.

Although President Fujimori says that he does not condone torture, his administration has made no effort to curtail it. To the contrary, it has facilitated torture by weakening constitutional guarantees in wide areas of the country and by undermining the autonomy and effectiveness of government bodies established to protect constitutional rights. It has also failed to enact legislation that would designate torture as a distinct offense within the penal code carrying a commensurate level of punishment. It has attacked and intimidated the press for carrying stories critical of its human rights record.

The security forces continue to confront two armed opposition groups, the Communist Party of Peru-Shining Path (Partido Comunista del Perú-Sendero Luminoso, PCP-SL), known as the Shining Path, and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru, MRTA), both of which consistently breach basic principles of international humanitarian law. The Shining Path commits selective assassinations of its civilian opponents and carries out indiscriminate attacks, killing and maiming civilians. The MRTA, on a lesser scale, has also resorted to executions and indiscriminate attacks, and has kidnaped civilians and taken them hostage for lucrative ransoms or to force the government into releasing imprisoned cadres. Both organizations have resorted to torture, usually as a prelude to execution.

The legal regime imposed to combat political violence facilitates torture. Detainees suspected of what Peruvian law defines as terrorist offenses may be held for up to fifteen days by the police before they are charged or released. Such detainees are usually handled by Peru's anti-terrorist police, the National Directorate Against Terrorism (Dirección Nacional Contra el Terrorismo, DINCOTE). DINCOTE may hold suspects incommunicado for up to ten days without a court order. Torture typically occurs on police premises while suspects are being held incommunicado and interrogated. It is used to extract signed declarations incriminating the victim and to obtain information. Reforms introduced in 1996 to safeguard detainees' rights while under interrogation, such as allowing them access to defense lawyers and requiring the presence of a public prosecutor when statements are taken, have not eliminated torture. Many detainees are tortured by military personnel before being handed over to the police. Public prosecutors also fail to supervise or monitor detention to protect the physical security of detainees. These abuses take place most frequently in "emergency zones," areas in which the police and army enjoy special powers under the emergency regulations to combat Shining Path or the MRTA. For instance, they can detain suspects and conduct searches without a warrant.

According to a study of cases by the Institute for Legal Defense (Instituto de Defensa Legal, IDL), one of the most important Peruvian non-governmental human rights groups, more than three out of four people accused of "terrorism" reported that they were tortured after arrest. When instances of torture come to light periodically, the government calls them isolated cases and assures the public that they will be investigated and punished. The record shows, however, that such pronouncements are usually hollow: torture cases are rarely punished. Although the compilation of comprehensive statistics is difficult, Peruvian human rights groups estimate that at least 95 percent of the torture cases they document go unpunished. Those responsible are only held accountable in special circumstances, such as when a case causes a public outcry, receives close press attention, or comes under the spotlight of international publicity.

The role of torture in the government's counterinsurgency strategies was demonstrated during the occupation of the residence of the Japanese ambassador by the MRTA, which began on December 17, 1996. In March 1997, before army commandos broke into the building and released seventy-one hostages held by the guerrillas, the Peruvian army detained more than forty coffee growers in Alto Yurinaki, where they believed the MRTA guerrilla column responsible for the attack had originated. Over the next few days, the army reportedly tortured almost all of the detainees in an attempt to force them to incriminate themselves and their neighbors as members of the MRTA. The army variously beat them, submerged them in tanks of water, made them stand without food in the sun for hours, and shocked them with electricity. DINCOTE later ordered the release of all but one of the detainees for lack of evidence. Human Rights Watch/Americas, together with representatives of Peruvian human rights organizations, conducted investigations in the area of the arrests, interviewing released detainees or members of their families. The testimonies of former detainees, their relatives, village leaders, and provincial government authorities confirmed the systematic use of torture during this operation, and the failure of the legal regime in force to protect the physical integrity of the victims or to punish those responsible.

In early April the country was stunned by reports based on a television investigation that army intelligence officials had brutally tortured one of their own agents in the basement of army headquarters in Lima. Film shot secretly in the military hospital showed the fingers and ankles of the agent, Leonor La Rosa, inflamed and scarred from burns reportedly inflicted with a blowtorch. La Rosa had been under investigation after secret intelligence plans to intimidate journalists and members of the opposition were leaked to the press. The body of another agent, a colleague of La Rosa's, was discovered on a roadside north of Lima with its head and hands missing, after they had been severed apparently to avoid her identification.

If Peru is to bring its counterinsurgency policy and crime fighting tactics into line with international human rights standards, it must introduce effective measures to combat torture and impunity. Although Peru is a signatory to international treaties against torture, neither its laws nor its practice meet the standards required by international law. For example, torture is still not classified as a specific crime in Peru. Cases of torture must currently be prosecuted as "battery," and the low penalties provided upon conviction are inappropriate given the gravity of the crime. More importantly, the government fails to ensure that complaints of torture are investigated adequately and those guilty held accountable.

The persistence of torture in Peru is attributable, in part, to the weakness and lack of independence of entities responsible for ensuring respect for the law and human rights. Despite repeated promises, President Fujimori has failed to restore fully the independence of the judiciary, shattered following the coup d'etat in 1992. Civilian judges still occupy provisional posts in many parts of the country, subject to removal by a committee dominated by a government appointee. Fearful for their jobs, many judges are unwilling to challenge police misconduct and accept as evidence confessions extracted under torture, a practice that is explicitly banned under international law. Such confessions are also readily accepted by the special "faceless" courts and military tribunals that try persons accused of subversion and treason: the laws that govern these courts impose additional obstacles to judicial detection of torture by preventing members of the police who conducted interrogations from appearing for cross-examination.

Torture is committed with impunity. Few members of the military or police are prosecuted for abusing detainees unless the victim dies from the torture. Moreover, they are rarely prosecuted by impartial and autonomous courts. Instead, military courts assert jurisdiction in torture cases in which the accused are members of the armed forces. Convictions in military courts are rare, and when agents are convicted they are given sentences disproportionately light given the seriousness of the crime. Military courts also obstruct and refuse to cooperate with investigations and prosecutions of torture cases by civilian authorities.

Grave shortcomings in the effectiveness and independence of official monitoring bodies limit their ability to combat torture. In recent months, the ruling party, Change 90-New Majority (Cambio 90- Nueva Mayoría, C90-NM), which has a substantial majority in congress, has striven to maintain control over institutions like the Public Ministry, which works within the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation to prosecute crimes, and the Constitutional Court, which monitors observance of the constitution. The office of the Attorney General, which is responsible for overseeing the independence of the courts and ensuring the correct administration of justice, has had key powers removed and transferred to a single official, a government appointee, who is known to be a close ally of the president. In April 1997, the attorney general came under personal attack by the armed forces for seeking to enforce habeas corpus rulings affecting military justice officials. In June 1997, three judges of the seven-member Constitutional Court were dismissed after an impeachment spearheaded by C90-NM, which assailed the judges for ruling that Fujimori's planned run for a second re-election was unconstitutional. The court was left barely functioning, and could not continue to act effectively as a forum for the protection of constitutional rights.

The news media, which in early 1997 played a vital role in spotlighting human rights abuses, including torture, suffered a welter of government reprisals in the months that followed. Journalists who had covered torture cases were victims of physical threats and intimidation and selective prosecution for alleged tax debts. Channel 2 television, known as Frecuencia Latina, which broadcast the sensational report on the torture of La Rosa, came under persistent attack for its critical reporting. The government attempted to intimidate the channel by subjecting it to an investigation for alleged evasion of tax or customs duty, a tactic also used against a radio station, a private clinic which had agreed to admit La Rosa, and one of the impeached Constitutional Court judges. Baruch Ivcher Bronstein, Frecuencia Latina's majority shareholder, a naturalized Israeli, was publicly denounced by the armed forces and later deprived of his Peruvian nationality on specious legal grounds in a crude attempt to silence the station. Finally, a court ordered that Ivcher relinquish control of Frecuencia Latina to its minority owners, provoking a walk-out by respected journalists.

President Fujimori used his inaugural address at the annual General Assembly of the Organization of American States to launch barbed criticism of the press and attacked a daily opposition newspaper in television spots paid for by the Ministry of the Interior. These actions by government officials helped to create at atmosphere in which physical attacks against journalists appeared justified.

The Defender of the People (Defensor del Pueblo), an ombudsman appointed by congress to protect and promote human rights, has managed to preserve his independence and has acted energetically in individual cases involving torture. Jorge Santistevan de Noriega, who heads the office of the Defender of the People, told Human Rights Watch/Americas of the commitment of his office to work toward major reforms that will benefit the treatment of detainees. Human Rights Watch/Americas welcomes this commitment and hopes that it will be backed by the full cooperation of the Peruvian government.

So far, while declaring its opposition to torture, the government has failed to take measures to stop it, although the extent of the practice has been amply documented by the international bodies that monitor compliance with the human rights treaties that Peru has signed. The Alto Yurinaki cases, documented in this report's fifth chapter and widely covered in the press, led to an assurance by Fujimori that allegations of torture would be investigated. Despite their gravity and credibility, no investigation was carried out. Although four officers allegedly responsible for the torture of Leonor La Rosa were tried and convicted by a military court, the victim was held incommunicado, harassed, and threatened. Politically motivated assaults on the independence and effectiveness of institutions such as the civilian judiciary and the attorney general's office have weakened their ability to serve as a bulwark against abuses by the police and the armed forces. In short, the government has treated human rights as an inconvenient encumbrance in the way of government policy; instead it must treat them as a central political objective.

Recommendations to the Peruvian Government:

1. Those who died during the assault included two members of the security forces and a respected Supreme Court judge, Dr. Carlos Giusti Acuña.

2. Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Informe sobre la Situación de los Derechos Humanos en el Perú en 1996 (Lima: Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, 1997), pp.18-19.

3. Fourteen occurred between 1992 and 1994 and seventeen between 1995 and 1996.

4. These statistics were compiled for Human Rights Watch/Americas by the Institute for Legal Defense, based on questionnaires applied to 1,068 male and 170 female prisoners whose cases the organization has taken up between 1990 and April 1997.

5. Centro de Estudios y Acción por la Paz, Perfil social y jurídico de los adolescentes infractores de la ley penal procesados por terrorismo" (Lima: Centro de Estudios y Acción por la Paz, 1996), p. 30.

6. At the end of 1996, emergency regulations affected 18.5 percent of the national territory and 23 percent of the population. Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, "Informe sobre la Situación de la Tortura en el Perú," unpublished report submitted to the United Nations Committee against Torture, April 1997, pp. 3-4.

7. According to the United States Department of State's 1996 human rights report on Peru, for example, "In Tocache 17-year-old Juan Gutiérrez Silva was tortured repeatedly on July 6, when he refused to sign a confession for allegedly shooting at the girlfriend of a military officer. When hospitalized after ten hours of beatings, Gutiérrez's skull was cracked, and he had been stabbed with a thin rod ten times in the chest area, and suffered cuts in the neck and left arm. Near death, Gutiérrez was transported to Lima for medical treatment." United States Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997), p. 542.

8. Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Informe sobre la Situación de los Derechos Humanos en el Perú en 1994 (Lima: Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, 1994), pp. 21-22.

9. Coodinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Carta Circular, Vol. 40, July, 1997, p.9.

10. Article 4.

11. Article 5.

12. "No one may be a victim of moral, psychological or physical violence, or subjected to torture or inhuman or humiliating treatment. Anyone may request immediately a medical examination of the affected party or of anyone who is incapacitated to request it for themselves. Declarations obtained by the use of violence have no legal value. Whoever resorts to it is criminally responsible."Constitution of 1993, Article 2 (24,h), Translation by Human Rights Watch/Americas.

13. "He who causes serious physical injury or damage to the health of another shall be punished with a penalty of imprisonment of no less than three years or more than eight. . . . When the victim dies as a result of the injury and if the agent could have foreseen this consequence, the penalty shall be no less than five years or more than ten." Penal Code (1991), Article 121. The wording of the article makes no distinction between violence resulting in injury occurring between private parties and injury inflicted by agents of the state acting in an official capacity.

14. Article 376 states: "The public official who, abusing his powers, commits or orders any arbitrary action whatsoever against any person shall be punished with a penalty of no more than two years' imprisonment." The article refers generically to "any arbitrary act" without specifying its nature, seriousness, or whether violence was used.

15. Peru ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in July 1988.

16. Committee against Torture, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 19 of the Convention, Peru, U.N. Doc. A/50/44 (Fiftieth Session, 1995).

17. Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-Second Session, Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Nigel S. Rodley, submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/37, E/CN.4/1996/35, January 9,1996.

18. Article 7 of the ICCPR states that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". Peru ratified the covenant on April 28, 1978.

19. Article 5(2) of the American Convention on Human Rights contains the same wording on torture as the ICCPR. Peru ratified the convention on July 28, 1978.

20. Peru ratified the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture on March 28, 1991.

21. Article 55.

22. ICCPR, Article 4.

23. See comments by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture in his 1996 report on Peru. Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/1996/35, January 9,1996.

24. Decree Law 25475.

25. Decree Law 25659.

26. In August 1996, after a long and emotional campaign by human rights advocates, President Fujimori established a commission to review cases of innocent prisoners and propose them for a presidential pardon. By November 1997, the so-called Adhoc Commission, composed of the minister of justice, the ombudsman, and a former prison chaplain, had secured the release of 227 wrongly convicted prisoners, but hundreds more applications remained in the pipeline.

27. Human Rights Watch/Americas, "Peru: Presumption of Guilt, Human Rights Violations and the Faceless Court," Vol 8, No.5(B), August 1996, pp. 6-9.

28. "The inquiries undertaken in this respect by military personnel, like the taking of statements by detainees in military bases or barracks, would be void of legal value. In addition, they would be converted into a source of human rights violations." Ronald Gamarra, Terrorismo: Tratamiento Jurídico, Instituto de Defensa Legal, Lima, 1994 (Translation by Human Rights Watch/Americas).

29. Ibid., pp. 199-201.

30. One exception is the case of Jorge Cauracuri Coronado, who was abducted by army personnel in plainclothes on April 14, 1992 and held in secret for ten tays before being handed over to DINCOTE. In his statement to the judge, Cauracuri said that he had been tortured by the army and DINCOTE, and he exhibited the marks. Cauracuri's allegations were backed up by a medical certificate issued by the Institute of Legal Medicine. The prosecutor filed charges of "battery" and "abuse of authority" against police Capt. Jaime León Bohórquez, before Lima's 32nd Criminal Court. Bohórquez, however, absconded, and the prosecution was suspended. Despite his substantiated claim of torture, Caurcari was convicted to ten years' imprisonment under the antiterrorism law. Memo to Human Rights Watch/Americas from the Comisión de Derechos Humanos (COMISEDH), April 8, 1997.

31. In November 1996, the United Nations Human Rights Committee "deplored" the failure of the Peruvian government to comply with its recommendations on the amnesty law. The committee had called on the government to "review or revoke" the law, ensure that victims of human rights violations by state agents received compensation, and make sure that agents found guilty were removed from office. Committee of Human Rights, Examination of the Reports presented by States Party under Article 40 of the Covenant, UN Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add. 72, November 8, 1996.

32. Código Procesal Penal, Decreto Legislativo No. 638. Article 14. Translation by Human Rights Watch/Americas.

33. Thus, a robbery committed while a policeman carries out an arrest would be a common crime, because the value affected, the right to enjoy one's property, pertains to civil society and is identical regardless of whether the author of the crime is a policeman or a civilian. On the other hand, "disobedience" is a function-related offense, because the value affected, "discipline," is exclusively a military value. A disobedient worker in a civilian job could be fired, but not prosecuted.

34. The Code of Penal Procedure currently in force dates back to 1940. The 1991 code was suspended indefinitely by the Fujimori government after the coup of April 1992. According to the Coordinadora, the main reasons for the suspension were the increased supervisory powers the new code gave to public prosecutors over the police. Another factor, according to lawyers experienced in litigating torture cases in civilian courts, was the clear delimitation of military justice in the code. Memo from the Coordinadora to Human Rights Watch/Americas, August 4, 1997.

35. According to the draft law, "Ordinary criminal jurisdiction is not competent to hear: 1) Function-related crimes committed by members of the Armed Forces and the National Police, typified in the Military Penal Code."

36. Americas Watch, Peru Under Fire, p.28.

37. Human Rights Watch/Americas, The Two Faces of Justice, p.16.

38. Chávez Peñaherrera had testified that he had paid bribes to presidential adviser Vladimiro Montesinos to allow him to conduct drug-trafficking operations without interference. The government would not allow the allegations to be investigated.

39. In November 1996, the CSJM refused to respect a habeas corpus petition granted by a civilian judge on behalf of retired Gen. Rodolfo Robles Espinoza, who had been arbitrarily and violently arrested by army intelligence agents.

40. "Acuerdos inconvenientes del CJSM," El Comercio, May 11, 1997.

41. Constitution of 1993, Article 139(1). This article states that "there may not exist or be established any independent jurisdiction, except for the military and arbitration (courts). Despite this explicit mention of military jursidiction as independent, military courts may not intrude in cases under ordinary jurisdiction. Their competence is restricted to purely military offenses."

42. As described below, army intelligence experts abducted former Gen. Rodolfo Robles in the street in November 1996 after he had denounced the participation of the Colina group in the bombing of a television station in Puno in October of that year. The army refused to heed a habeas corpus writ issued on his behalf and only released Robles after Fujimori intervened and granted him an amnesty.

43. The Executive Commission of the Public Ministry was set up in 1996 to oversee the restructuring of the Public Ministry.

44. Article 34(4) of the Organic Law of the Judiciary stipulates that the criminal chambers of the Supreme Court are competent to hear cases against members of the CSJM.

45. Elba Greta Minaya Calle, a respected judge who has courageously defended human rights, was removed from the 37th Criminal Court in Lima after she had granted a habeas corpus writ in December 1996 on behalf of Robles. After public pressure, the president of the Superior Court of Lima reinstated her. In July 1997, the Minister of the Interior, César Saucedo Sánchez, ordered Minaya prosecuted for terrorism and other crimes for granting a habeas corpus petition on behalf of a woman arbitraily detained by DINCOTE. Minaya had ordered the release of Carmen Cáceres Hinostrozo after the criminal investigations department of the police detained her when she refused to sign a statement recognizing that police had discovered ammunition in her kitchen. She was later transferred to DINCOTE, although there was no warrant for her arrest. The accusation of terrorism against Minaya was subsequently dropped, and instead a disciplinary complaint against her was lodged with the judiciary's internal control body.

46. Constitution of 1993, Articles 201-204 and 158-160, respectively.

47. Colán has acquired a reputation as a fierce defender of Fujimori's authoritarian policies. In 1993, she refused to allow foreign forensic experts permission to assist in the exhumation of the bodies of the La Cantuta victims; she helped instigate arbitrary legal action against journalist Ricardo Uceda, editor-in-chief of Sí magazine, after he had published evidence of the La Colina death squad's involvement in the Los Barrios massacre; she threatened to prosecute judge Antonia Saquicuray Sánchez for continuing to investigate the group's involvement in the crime despite the recently promulgated amnesty law. See Americas Watch, Peru, Anatamy of a Cover-Up: the Disappearances at La Cantuta, September, 1993, p.14, and Human Rights Watch/Americas, World Report (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1996), p. 118.

48. Law No. 26695, of December 3, 1996.

49. Law No.26738 of January 7, 1997, widely known as the "third Colán Law." The "first Colán Law" helped Colán to remain in the post of attorney general, when her temporary appointment expired, by giving her the necessary seniority to do so. The "second Colán Law" extended her period of office by discounting her time as a temporary appointee. A recurrent feature of the current administration in Peru has been its use of a comfortable parliamentary majority to pass laws couched in general terms but designed to affect one individual in particular. Another example was the "Susana Law" designed to prevent the presidential candidacy of Fujimori's estranged wife, Susana Higuchi.

50. The original vote went against him due to a last-minute appointment by Dr. Colán of a new temporary senior prosecutor to the board of senior prosecutors responsible for the election. However, following widespread protests, Dr. Colán stood down.

51. "Fiscal de la Nación Habemos:entrevista a Miguel Aljovín," Ideele, No. 94, March 1997.

52. Three of its members voted in December 1996 to support a motion of unconstitutionality against the voting requirement, presented by a group of thirty-six members of Congress. In its annual report for 1997, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights criticized the requirement as one that allows for "overarching state authority, above the highest-level judicial bodies, allowing for the blatant interference of the Executive in the administration of justice and judicial reform," OEA/Ser.L/V/II.95, Doc 7 rev., March 14, 1997, p. 744.

53. Since Fujimori's first re-election was in 1995, this would make him eligible to stand again in 2000.

54. Two members of the court who strongly disagreed with the verdict published a minority view alongside it, despite having abstained from the vote.

55. Article 4 of the law stipulates that "the court resolves and adopts decisions by a simple majority of votes cast, except to resolve the inadmissability of an inconstitutionality complaint or to issue a sentence that declares unconstitutional a norm with the status of law, in which case six votes in favor are needed." (Translation by Human Rights Watch/Americas.)

56. One of judges who abstained, Judge José García Marcelo, a former army chaplain, was suspected by Judge Revoredo of stealing a confidential draft of the ruling from her briefcase.

Other members of the court who voted for the resolution also reported confidential documents missing. The draft in question appears to have found its way into the hands of a group of C90-NM members of congress, who sent a letter to the president of the court, Dr. Ricardo Nugent López-Chávez, urging him to vote against the ruling. Judge José García Marcelo received a vote of censure in the court for disclosing its confidential deliberations.

During the week of the ruling, Judge Revoredo alleged that her home had been under surveillance by naval intelligence agents posing as ice cream sellers and gardeners. She also said that a case against her concerning the importation of an automobile, which had been closed several years ago, was suddenly reopened by a judge in Callao, apparently in retaliation for her vote. On November 8, 1996, Nugent's police bodyguard was killed and two other police officers escorting his vehicle were seriously injured when gunmen attacked his vehicle. The press reported that the gunmen, who were attempting to kidnap a businessman when Nugent's car passed by, mistook it for a police vehicle and opened fire. These were not the only suspicious incidents involving members of the court. The Minister of the Interior, Gen. Juan Briones Dávila, denied that the attack was politically motivated. However, the incident remained unclarified. See "Quedó al voto pedido para procesar a Delia Revoredo," La República,April 9, 1997 and "Presidente del T.C. salva de balacera," La República, November 9, 1997.

57. The statement read: "Given the institutional importance of the Constitutional Court, the IACHR hopes that it will be restored to regular functioning as soon as possible, guaranteeing due respect for its independence, impartiality and autonomy of the other organs of the state, and consolidating its position as the most authoritative interpreter of the Constitution and human rights."

58. Comunicado Oficial No. 003/SZSNC-7, Ministerio de Defensa, Lima, March 18, 1997.

59. "Ejército Peruano presenta armamento del frustrado ataque terrorista del MRTA," El Sol, March 20, 1997.

60. "Militares los torturaron para que admitieran ser del MRTA," La República, March 26, 1997.

61. El Sol, March 20, 1997. The article in the pro-military El Sol appeared on the day after a television report denouncing that the peasants had been tortured into confessing. The article claimed that all of the detainees had been interrogated in the presence of the provincial prosecutor and that none had denounced torture. Thus, it concluded, the army had "de-activated another plan by the terrorists to attack the armed forces for committing abuses against peasants, in which they hoped to use the foreign press that is in our country for the hostage crisis." (Translation by Human Rights Watch/Americas.)

62. Human Rights Watch/Americas interview with Paulino Solís Taype, Lima, April 4, 1997. Solís's allegation was confirmed by journalist María Elena Cornejo, who later interviewed the provincial prosecutor, Victoriano Núñez Valdivia. He told her: "The thing is I don't have a budget for clothes, and as I was in civilian clothes and my shoes were dirty, the general lent me the uniform. Besides, it was 4 p.m. on a Friday and it was time for me to leave work, and I didn't have time to change. But I don't take pressure from anyone because I stand up to anyone like a man." María Elena Cornejo, "El Voltaje del Miedo, Caretas, No.1460, April 10, 1997, p.37.

63. The soldiers tried to force Loida Dionicio to admit that she had been recruited to the MRTA by another detainee, Aurelio Leiva, and that he had raped her. A later medical examination in the DINCOTE showed that Loida was, in fact, a virgin. Leiva had been singled out as the "leader" of the MRTA column.

64. Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, unpublished testimony of Inés Marilu Avila Gálvez, March 1996.

65. Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, unpublished testimony of Emerson Wistrecher Cánepa, March 1996.

66. Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, unpublished testimony of Inés Marilu Avila Gálvez, March 1996.

67. Human Rights Watch/Americas saw and photographed the torture equipment during our visit on April 2, 1997.

68. Human Rights Watch/Americas interview with Félix Jorge Romero, Lima, April 9, 1997.

69. Human Rights Watch/Americas interviews with Alfonso Rojas Colca and José Teofilo Huamán, Lima, April 4,1997.

70. Human Rights Watch/Americas interview with Martín Augusto Elguera, Lima, April 9, 1997.

71. "Salud sicológica de rehenes está deteriorada," Expreso, March 31, 1997.

72. Judge Onésimo Julio Vela Velásquez, Informe No. 003-96-1JEPP, expediente No. 55-95, January 23,1996. Pages not numbered.

73. The forensic doctors asserted that it was impossible to determine whether the victim's lesions were self-inflicted or had been caused by a third party, but they went on, contradictorily, to say that the lesions had not been self-inflicted. Diligencia de necropsia en el cadáver de Jhoel Huamán García. Ministerio Público Fiscalía Mixta Pasco, date indistinct.

74. Judge Onésimo Vela Velásquez, Expediente No. 55-95, page un-numbered.

75. Penal Code, Book II, Title 1, Chapter 3, Article 121(3, ii).

76. Letter from Francisco Soberón, general coordinator of the Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos and Felicita Buendía Oré, Chamaya's widow, to Luz Salgado Rubianes, president of the Congressional Human Rights Committee, November 9, 1995.

77. "Policías enfrían taxista en cómica," El Popular, September 23, 1995. According to the same source, their superiors were complicit in their escape.

78. A police witnesses who was not identified told reporters that the officers responsible, apparently backed by the station chief, Carlos Sánchez Gutiérrez, hatched a plan to remove and "disappear" the body: "Lieutenant Zevallos tried to take the corpse away in the trunk of a private car, but because others tried to stop him, he began to shout like a madman, threatening to 'talk' about other abuses committed in the station. Later, he disappeared." "Jefes de cómica en Santa Felicia

implicados en crimen de taxista," El Popular, September 25, 1995.

79. "Asesinos de taxista se entregan a las autoridades y admiten su crimen," La República, September 28, 1995.

80. According to a legal advisor to the criminal investigations department of the national police, the National Directorate for the Investigation of Crimes (Dirección Nacional de Investigación del Crímen, DININCRI): "On this point, since the events took place in the installations of a police establishment and as a consequence of the carrying out of professional functions, the criminal conduct falls within the terms of Article 173 of the Constitution; for this reason the present advisor is of the opinion that, in application of Article 319 and 326 of the Code of Military Justice, it is of the exclusive competence of the military jurisdiction." Asesoría Legal de la DININCRI-PNP, Dictámen no. 181-0AJ-DININCRI-PNP, September 25, 1995. (Translation by Human Rights Watch/Americas.)

81. Human Rights Watch/Americas interview with lawyer Jorge Vega Fernández, Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, Lima, April 8, 1997.

82. Letter to the judge of the 40th Criminal Court, signed by Jorge Vega Fernández, May 14, 1996.

83. The civilian and military judges also conflicted over the place where Zevallos would serve his sentence. After his conviction by the military court, police authorities refused to return him to Lurigancho, sending him to a military prison instead. According to a memo from the national penitentiary authorities to the judge, "this decision has caused administrative problems in this department in that the prisoner was interned in a public prison, Lurigancho, with a detention order issued by your worthy court, and in his capacity as accused, and he should have been returned to the same prison." Memo to the judge of the 40th Penal Court of Lima from an official of the National Penitentiary Institute (INP), a department of the Ministry of Justice, September 17, 1996.

84. Human Rights Watch/Americas interview with lawyer Jorge Vega Fernández, Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, Lima, April 8, 1997.

85. "Policías de la delegación de Breña asesinan a comerciante de lápidas," Expreso, March 25, 1996.

86. Manifestación de José Enrique Palomino García, document bearing the National Police stamp, dated March 26, 1996.

87. Protocol de autopsia, Ref. Ofc. 384-96-14 FPPL-MP-FN, March 24, 1996.

88. Ampliación de la Instructiva del Inculpado Alberto Sánchez Vásquez, July 18, 1996.

89. Testimony of José Fiorentini Vergara, cited in summary of evidence by Judge Cecilia Bolack Baluarte of the 44th Criminal Court of Lima, November 6, 1996.

90. Testimony of Capt. Jorge Manuel Cheng Kong Chu, March 29, 1996.

91. Atestado No. 448 IC-H-DDCV, Delito Cometido por Funcionarios Públicos- Abuso de Autoridad, April 2, 1996.

92. "Descuartizan a mujer agente del SIN y a otra la torturan y la internan en Hospital Militar," La República, April 7, 1997; "El ejército investigaba por 'infidencia' a Mariella Barreto la agente descuartizada," La República, April 8, 1997; "Una agente de inteligencia asegura haber sido torturada," El Comercio, April 7, 1997; "Congreso pide informe a ministros por denuncias de torturas en el SIN," Expreso, April 8, 1997.

93. "Los planes al desnudo," La República, April 7, 1997.

94. "Descuartizan a mujer."

95. Human Rights Watch/Americas interview with Orlando Barreto Peña, father of Mariella Barreto, April 7, 1997.

96. "El ejército investigaba por "infidencia" a Mariela Barreto."

97. Ibid.

98. Ibid.

99. "Enjuician a cuatro de SIE por caso de torturas," El Sol, April 9, 1997; "Cuatro militares enjuiciados por torturas," Expreso, April 9, 1997.

100. De Bari was quoted as saying, "[The case] has occurred in a circumstantial fashion [and] remains an isolated event that we categorically condemn." "Ejército remueve y detiene a cuatro oficiales," El Sol, April 10, 1997. (Translation by Human Rights Watch/Americas.)

101. "Fiscal de la Nación ordena investigar," Expreso,April 9, 1997; "Casos deben verse en fuero civil; Fiscal de la Nación habla claro," La República, April 9, 1997.

102. DESCO, "Trabas al Fiscal?," Resúmen Semanal, April 9-15, 1997.

103. On May 8, this lawyer was also fired by the military justice authorities for giving an unauthorized interview to the press. "Agente SIE se desmaye en juicio," Expreso, May 9, 1997.

104. "Coronel EP por encargo del general Hermoza me propuso retirar denuncia de tortura," La República, May 12, 1997.

105. "Detienen y golpean a hermano de Leonor La Rosa," La República, June 29, 1997.

106. This was reported in the summing-up of the military prosecutor, Gen. Raúl Talledo Valdivieso. "Agente Lenor La Rosa sufre desmayo durante audiencia y tribunal militar la suspende para hoy,"La República, May 9, 1997.

107. Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, "Noticias," June 6, 1997.

108. DESCO, "La frustración cronometrada," Resumen Semanal, August 6-12, 1997.

109. Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, "Noticias," May 24, 1997.

110. "El SIN estaría investigando a directivos de Frecuencia Latina," El Comercio, April 7, 1997; "Denuncian presiones contra Canal 2 por informes periodísticos del SIN," La República, April 7, 1997; "Por difundir reportaje sobre torturas presionan a Canal 2," La República, April 10, 1997.

111. The government interfered with the police to silence unwelcome criticism. In August 1997, police captain Julio Salas Cáceres told Human Rights Watch/Americas that he had been ordered by his superiors to open an investigation--at the SIN's request, they told him--into alleged customs duty evasion by Channel 2. He said that his superiors had visited Vladimiro Montesinos, the SIN's de facto head, and received his personal congratulations for their work. However, when news of the investigation caused a public outcry, the government backtracked and promptly denied its existence. Alone, Salas refused to go along with this pretense; for refusing to deny his role in the investigation, he was hauled up before his superiors, threatened, physically assaulted, and summarily dismissed from the force. Salas and his lawyer were subjected to death threats, and his wife was attacked in the street by a man who told her she was going to "die like a squashed rat." Salas left the country in fear for his safety.

112. Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, "Noticias," May 24, 1997.

113. DESCO, "Canal 2: Winter se cuadra," Resumen Semanal, May 28-June 3, 1997.

114. Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, "Noticias," May 29, 1997.

115. Article 2(21) of the Constitution stipulates that everyone has a right "to their nationality. No one may be stripped of it." Article 20(3) of the American Convention on Human Rights holds, "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality or of the right to change it."

116. The judges were transferred after being accused by the army of unlawfully granting habeas corpus petitions in favor of general Rodolfo Robles, after his detention by SIE agents in November 1996.

117. Contrapunto's director, Luis Ibérico, told reporters: "We hit the nail on the head, we touched the spot, and the mask dropped. Something that before had been debatable has become obvious. That was the merit of Contapunto and the reason for its destruction." DESCO, "Ibérico: dimos en el clavo," Resumen Semanal, September 17-23, 1997.

118. DESCO, "Fujimori agresivo," Resumen Semanal, May 28-June 3, 1997.

119. DESCO, "Detención de Ricardo Palma; Hildebrandt tambien denunciado," Resumen Semanal, May 21-27, 1997.

120. This account is extracted from a letter from Gustavo Saberbein to Francisco Soberón, director of the Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, a nongovernmental human rights group, March 24,1997.

121. Testimony of Patricia Valdez, sent to Human Rights Watch/Americas, March 25, 1997.

122. Lima's deserted beaches are a well-known site where the police torture victims, sometimes half-drowning them in the ocean.

123. DESCO, "Diez Canseco: Un Acto del SIN,"Resúmen Semanal, March 19-25, 1997; "Hermanos Huamaní no incendieron carro del congresista Diez Canseco," La República, April 9, 1997.

124. "Fujimori afirma que delincuentes comunes atentaron contra Diez Canseco," La República, April 7, 1997; "Hermanos Huamaní no incendieron carro."

125. Nota de prensa: Oficina Parlamentaria del Congresista Diez Canseco, Lima, 27 de mayo, 1997.

126. Human Rights Watch/Americas interview with Blanca Rosales, Lima, April 7, 1997.

127. Amnesty International, Urgent Action, UA 201/97, AI Index: AMR 46/27/97, July 8, 1997.

128. "Un nuevo atentado contra la prensa independiente," La República, July 2, 1997. Received by internet.

129. DESCO, "Golpean a periodistas," Resúmen Semanal, July 2-8, 1997.

130. Robles' role in exposing the Colina group is described in his book. Rodolfo Robles, "Crimen e Impunidad: El "Grupo Colina" y el Poder (Lima: Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos, 1996).

131. Human Rights Watch/Americas interview with Rodolfo Robles Espinoza, Lima, April 10, 1997.

132. Ibid.

133. The standards set forth in Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 explicitly address conflicts that are not of an international character. Human Rights Watch/Americas applies these standards where guerrilla forces do not exercise formal, consistent control over population or territory, as is the case in Peru. Common Article 3 prohibits the mistreatment of individuals taking no active part in hostilities, including combatants who have laid down their arms or have been placed hors de combat for any reason. The following are strictly prohibited: violence to life and person, in particular murder, mutilation, torture; humiliating or degrading treatment; the passing of sentences and carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording guarantees of due process. Common Article 3 states explicitly that its application does not affect the legal status of the parties to a conflict, nor does it confer any special status on the armed opposition.

134. Human Rights Watch/Americas has consistently reported on violations of the laws of war by the armed opposition as well as government forces since our first report on Peru in 1984. See Americas Watch, Abdicating Democratic Authority: Human Rights in Peru (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1984); A Certain Passivity: Failing to Curb Human Rights Abuses in Peru (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1987); Americas Watch, A New Opportunity for Democratic Authority: Human Rights In Peru (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1985); Americas Watch, In Desperate Straits; Human Rights in Peru after a Decade of Democracy and Insurgency (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1990); Americas Watch, Tolerating Abuses: Violations of Human Rights in Peru (New York: Human Rights Watch, October 1988); Americas Watch, Peru Under Fire, Human Rights Since the Return to Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992);Americas Watch, Human Rights in Peru One Year after Fujimori's Coup (New York: Human Right Watch, April 1993).

135. Above the Two Hills: Counter-Insurgency War and its Allies, document attributed to the Shining Path's founder, Abimael Guzmán, written in 1991, cited in Amnesty International, "Peru: Human Rights in a Time of Impunity," May 1996, AMR 46/01/96.

136. From January through October 1989, the Shining Path assassinated forty-six mayors, and a further 263 resigned after receiving death threats. See Americas Watch, Peru under Fire: Human Rights Since the Return of Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 65.

137. For several years, Shining Path has been split after its imprisoned founder and leader Abimael Guzmán called for a "peace accord" with the government. A faction known as Red Path, led by Oscar Ramírez Durand, aka "Feliciano," has openly rejected these overtures and was

believed responsible for a number of assassinations of advocates of the peace strategy in 1996.

138. Americas Watch, Peru under Fire, p. 66.

139. Ibid, p. 69.

140. The taking of hostages is specifically prohibited in Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949. The MRTA has also violated Common Article 3 by resorting to assassinations, selective executions, and indiscriminate attacks.

141. Comando Conjunto de Las Fuerzas Armadas del Perú, "La Verdadera Historia del MRTA," Comando Conjunto's internet website,, March 18, 1997.

142. Ibid.

143. Human Rights in Peru One Year after Fujimori's Coup, p.17.

144. United States Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997), pp. 541-542.

145. Ibid., p. 542.

146. The commission was known as the Goldman Commission, after its chair, Robert Goldman.

147. "Embajador EEUU: 'Sanción a Culpables,'" Expreso, April 10, 1997.

148. DESCO, "Las opiniones del embajador," Resúmen Semanal, May 28-June 3, 1997.

149. In October 1996, the Fujimori government used the visit to Lima of Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, to launder the image of Montesinos, who has repeatedly been involved in scandals, including allegedly accepting pay-offs from a renowned drug-trafficker. U.S. officials took insufficient steps to publicly distance themselves from Montesinos during McCaffrey's visit, even while the press characterized his meetings with Montesinos, who is rarely seen in public, as a gesture of support. See Human Rights Watch, World Report 1997, p. 120. Since the date of McCaffrey's visit, evidence of the illegal activities of the Colina Group, said to have been directed by Montesinos, has continued to mount.