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Justice in Peru

El Diario/La Prensa, Editorial, Staff Posted: Apr 08, 2009

Alberto Fujimori, the ex president of Peru, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for human rights violations that involved killing and kidnapping by his security forces in the 1990s. Fujimoris conviction is a triumph for the principle of international collaboration in holding heads of state and their collaborators accountable for human rights crimes.

Fujimori justified his actions under the mandate of a war on terror. Perus democracy was under siege by the home-grown, ultra-violent Maoist guerilla group Shining Path. In response to the violence against innocents by the left, Fujimori authorized Peruvian security forces to fight fire with fire by torturing and killing and otherwise violating the civil and human rights of Perus citizens.

Fujimoris trial and conviction sets a powerful precedent in international cooperation. Chiles judiciary allowed for the extradition of Fujimori to Peru to stand trial. As Juan Mendez of the International Center for Transitional Justice points out, it has heretofore been rare for countries to cooperate with each other on the extradition requests involving former leaders.

Many of Fujimoris victims were among the poor and dispossessed. The outcome of the case, Mendez added, brings hope to marginalized people who too frequently dont have justice on their side.

Other prominent cases await. The same Spanish magistrate who sought to bring Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to justice recently ordered a probe of senior Bush administration officials for allegedly authorizing the torture of Spanish citizens. And earlier last month, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan for the genocide in Darfur.

For those hoping to commit abuses and then fade into obscurity, bewarejustice may yet be served, as it was for the people of Peru.

Related Articles:

Fujimori Gets 25 Years

Peruvians Skeptical over Justice for Fujimori

U.S. Peruvians Fear Fujimori Case Will End in Chaos

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