Archive for the ‘Rule of Law’ Category
La Fiscal chilena Mónica Maldonado recomendó, en un informe el día 7 de junio, que el ex-presidente del Perú, Alberto Fujimori, sea procesado en su país por 11 casos: 3 de violación a los Derechos Humanos y 8 de corrupción. Este es hasta el momento, el paso más importante para extraditar al ex-presidente. Se estima su retorno antes de fin de año.
From our Fujimori archives: El Chino en Chile!; Return of Fujimori; The Trouble with Alberto; Yale University Forum on Fujimori; The Fujimori Legacy
Are other members of Peru’s congress involved in Elsa Canchaya-style fraud? Here is a report from Living in Peru on yet another revelation by Cuarto Poder. In Comment is free I noted that: “Word has it that Canchay was exposed by a competitor within her party’s ranks, who tipped off the media. There may be a complex chess game going on behind the scenes. Another rumor is that numerous advisors were quickly ‘cashiered’ when this case came to light. We can be pretty sure Canchay is not the only member of congress with her nose in the trough.”
Read the Peruvian bloggers here and here.
Read El Comercio on this case.
Another scandal hits Peru’s Congress
(LIP-jl) — A Peruvian television news program uncovered yet another payroll scandal involving one of Peru’s parliamentary members. This time Peruvian congressman Walter Menchola, from Peru’s National Solidarity political party (Solidaridad Nacional -SN), is in the eye of another political storm.
Menchola is accused of helping a young college student, Karen Ku, land a job within the Peruvian congress, for which she received a monthly pay check, without working in her position.
Maxwell A. Cameron
Why is corruption endemic in parts of Latin America? A recent case from Peru suggests that a mixture of inequality and uneven enforcement of the law for those in power are often at the heart of the problem.
In late April, the television program Cuarto Poder (Fourth Power) revealed that Elsa Canchaya, Peruvian member of congress from the province of Junín, had placed her maid on the congressional payroll as a “political advisor.” “Out!” thundered Peru’s most important daily newspaper, El Comercio, in an April 25 editorial, “does this person have the moral authority to continue producing laws?”
The congressional ethics commission has called for a 120-day suspension without pay, and passed the file to the commission for constitutional accusations. The latter has the power to expel lawmakers. This should also be the first step toward a criminal investigation. But will it?
The salary of a congressional advisor is roughly $1,500 per month (US dollars), about ten times the miserable allowances generally given to maids in Peru. The press presumes (though this is rarely stated explicitly except by bloggers) that Canchaya was using her maid to line her own pockets. Jacqueline Simón Vicente, the maid in question, would have been placed on the payroll in exchange for agreeing to turn over most of her salary to the member of congress, though none of this is yet publicly confirmed. Such practices have, nevertheless, been revealed repeatedly in the past, and in one exceptional case a member of congress was expelled as a result.
Public indignation was stirred when Canchaya not only lied about her maid–claiming she was a notary-in-training when photos show her wearing a maid’s uniform–but also suggested the accusations against her were motivated by racism. If racism is the issue, it is only because discrimination is at the root of inequality in Peru. Gross inequality makes it possible for employers to engage in abusive practices such as stealing from employees. Maids are subject to extremely abusive and discriminatory working and living conditions in Peru (recently dramatized by their exclusion from beaches near Lima).
It would be easy to minimize the case against Elsa Canchaya as merely another episode of petty malfeasance. As the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) notes, however, “corruption in public office extends uninhibited when citizens either resign themselves to living with it or contribute to spreading it further”. Survey research repeatedly shows that Peruvians, and Latin Americans generally, have little confidence in their legislative institutions, and even less confidence in their judicial institutions. Less than one in three Peruvians has confidence in congress, and about one in five has confidence in the courts. Corruption in congress implicates the legislature and the judiciary, potentially compounding mistrust in both.
Given the stakes, why are the congress and the judiciary unable to respond in ways that would restore public trust? Why are they unable to uphold the rule of law, even with respect to their own members? The answer is that the members of Peru’s deliberative institutions are, in practice, above the law. Members of congress enjoy parliamentary immunity. Nobody would deny that members of congress should be able to pass legislation without fear of legal repercussions, but in practice parliamentary immunity has become a form of impunity. As a result, the toughest legal response to the Canchaya case is likely to come from the congress, not the courts. It would take the form of an expulsion and ban on holding public office for 10 years.
When members of the congress take it upon themselves to act as judges, as they are now doing in the case of Canchaya, they are engaged in what is called political justice. Members of congresses are bad judges because they often lack the requisite legal training, they are partisan, and the application or interpretation of laws in particular cases is not their area of competence. In recent memory, the Peruvian congress expelled a member only to be forced to readmit that person after she was cleared of all charges by the courts. And yet the courts, overwhelmed by a backlog of cases and lacking the energy to assert their prerogatives, are unlikely to push for justice.
Corruption unchecked metastasizes and grows more virulent. Canchaya should be expelled from congress not as a punishment but as a prelude to a trial. A criminal sentence, rather than a political ban on holding public office, would best stop the career of a politician who has done more harm than good. Unless congress can show that the rule of law applies to its own members, Peruvians are right to place little confidence in their political institutions.
Ángel Páez of La Republica finds that VP Luis Giampietri Rojas was involved in arms acquisitions from firms linked to Vladimiro Montesinos under the Fujimori government.
El pasado viernes el escritor peruano Mario Vargas Llosa volvio a criticar duramente a Humala en una entrevista para el diario Clarin de Argentina. Vargas Llosa sentencio: “Con Humala se acaba la democracia”. El dia de hoy el diario Pagina 12 (tambien de Argentina) publico una respuesta a Vargas Llosa por Atilio Boron (Profesor de Teoria Politica y Social de la Universidad de Buenos Aires)
Maxwell A. Cameron
May 20, 2006
El Comercio has provided a transcript of the audio tape that was released to the press containing explosive comments by former president Alberto Fujimori’s intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, regarding Ollanta Humala and his uprising in Locumba on October 29, 2000. The tape was apparently made in secret, perhaps in the Callao Naval Base, and then leaked to the media by Montesinos’ lawyer.
The transcript is worth reading carefully for a number of reasons, but first a caveat: Montesinos is a pathological liar whose words should not be taken at face value. As one of his associates put it, Montesinos is “amoral, and has no principles. He functions according to his interests and objectives. It does not matter to him whether he steals a little or a lot; whether he blackmails a few people or lots of people. He can be enchanting when he wants to and [when he] has something to gain. When angered, he is a moral enemy; when he cries or laughs it is calculated” (quoted in Cameron 2006: 282-283).
There are two parts to Montesinos’ statement.
The first part of the statement by Montesinos reveals the extent of Peruvian military involvement in Fujimori’s re-election effort in 2000. According to Montesinos, the re-election campaign involved the distribution of stoves to popular kitchens, the circulation of propaganda, the organization of meetings, and the deployment of 80,000 scrutinizers throughout Peru. It also involved close coordination with the electronic and print media.
The mobilization and deployment of scrutinizers was undertaken by the intelligence service of the Peruvian army, under the leadership of Ruben Wong Venegas. Ollanta Humala, according to Montesinos, was responsible for organizing scrutinizers in the south of Peru, using Locumba as a base. In particular, he was charged with the task of recruiting reservists and other retired military personnel to serve as election officers, both in the first and the second rounds of the election.
In a press conference called late last night, Ollanta Humala dismissed the claim that was sent to Locumba to organize reservists as scrutinizers. Why, asked Humala would he be sent to Locumba to do this? He had been previously posted in Huancayo, the capital of Junin, which would have been a more logical place for such activity given its electoral weight.
The second half of Montesinos’ statement inadvertently reveals the limits of his own knowledge. Specifically, he appears to lack a clear understanding of why Humala led the uprising in Locumba. Montesinos implicitly offers three quite distinct interpretations of this event. Each interpretation coexists uneasily with the others.
The first interpretation is that Humala’s uprising was a “farce” and a ruse aimed at providing cover for Montesinos’ flight from Peru. Montesinos goes on to support this by saying that a serious military rebellion would have counted on support among military brass and the public, and would have threatened Fujimori’s power. Humala’s rebellion, if that is what it was, “never put at risk the continuity of the government.”
Curiously, Montesinos never offers any material evidence that he orchestrated Humala’s rebellion, something he ought in principle to be able to do. He merely reiterates the assertion–which has been a subject of speculation from the moment that the rebellion occurred–that the “farce” was a smoke screen.
The second interpretation offered by Montesinos is that Humala sought notoriety. In this view, the rebellion was aimed at creating a “personal image,” presumably with an eye toward a future political career. At least prima facie, this interpretation seems at odds with the first view. At the very least, it suggests a different motive for the Locumba rebellion.
A final interpretation is that Humala “lacked contact with the reality of the country.” Montesinos says there was a “possible dose of madness” in Humala’s actions, since the “strategic objective” were never defined. This seems to run contrary to the view that there was a clear strategic objective: to provide cover for Montesinos’ flight.
The inconsistencies between the various motives that are attributed to Humala give the reader the strong impression that Montesinos himself lacks any clear sense of what motivated Humala to lead his rebellion in 2000. That alone would seem to discredit, at least to some extent, Montesinos’ central claim: that Humala was helping to facilitate his departure from Peru on the Karisma yacht.
Cameron, Maxwell A. “Endogenous Regime Breakdown: The Vladivideo and the Fall of Peru’s Fujimori,” in Julio F. Carrion, ed. The Fujimori Legacy: The Rise of Electoral Authoritarianism in Peru. University Park, Pennsylvania: The Penn State University Press, 2006.
Vladimiro Montesinos made statements apparently aimed at undermining the candidacy of Ollanta Humala. In a tape recording leaked to the press, Montesinos called Humala an opportunist and said that, as a military officer under the orders of the National Intelligence Service (SIN), Humala participated in illegal activities in support of the candidacy of Alberto Fujimori in 2000. He also said that the military rebellion led by Humala later in 2000 in Locumba was a farce that never placed the Fujimori government at risk.
In the face of evidence that the case of Locumba in 2000 was more of a farce than a Quixotic uprising, there has been some discussion of whether the amnesty subsequently granted to Ollanta Humala might be revoked so that the case might be further investigated by the judiciary. Once again, this case exposes the nefarious effects of legislative interference in the judiciary. The congress should never grant amnesties lightly, and the idea that it might revoke an amnesty once given underscores the reason why: members of congress make bad judges.
In this essay, Mario Vargas Llosa makes the case for an alliance between APRA and Unidad Nacional. Two things are extraordinary about this argument. First, Vargas Llosa was a bitter adversary of APRA in the 1980s. Second, as Mirko Lauer noted on Rueda de Prensa last Sunday, the formation of an alliance between the much-maligned “traditional political parties” (Popular Action and the Popular Christian Party) and his own movement, Libertad, contributed to the electoral defeat of Vargas Llosa in 1990. Lauer expanded his argument in his La Republica column today.
Most of the commentary generated by Vargas Llosa’s op-ed has been negative. We have reproduced the views of local analysts, published in the last two days, below.
Read also: Los sueños húmedos de Varguitas; Alianza electoral? Para que?
In February, the Constitutional Tribunal, Peru’s supreme court in constitutional matters, agreed to review the law of military justice to determine its constitutionality. Yesterday, the Tribunal decided the law of military justice was unconstitutional. The decision also determined that military officers on active duty cannot be military justices.
Maxwell A. Cameron
April 17, 2006
The idea of a constituent assembly is making headlines again. Some sectors of UPP may want to back away from the idea (UPP members of congress may not wish to contemplate their own obsolescence just yet). Nevertheless, it is a formal part of the UPP platform.
The parties that have gained significant representation in congress (especially APRA and UN) are starting to lay down the gauntlet. They are questioning the necessity of a constituent assembly. Jorge del Castillo, Lourdes Alcorta, and Martha Hildebrandt have all questioned the idea in recent days.
In two separate interviews, two of Peru’s most respected experts on constitutional issues, Henry Pease and Enrique Bernales discuss issue of constitutional reform. They coincide in saying that the existing constitution (and indeed, Peru’s previous constitutions) does not contemplate the idea of a constituent assembly and therefore the only body that could convene such a “supra-constitutional” body (to use Bernales apt term) would be “We the people.” That is, it would have to come from a referendum.
Pease suggests that the existing constitution should first be modified to establish how, who, and under what circumstances a constituent assembly can be convened. In his view, the rule of law means acting within the constitution and if the constitution does not state how to convene a constituent assembly this should be figured out within the existing legal framework.
Another possibility is that an Humala government would force a confrontation with the congress over constitutional reform. It would bully congress into submission (using the threat of dissolution). Congress would go along or face its own extinction. As Pease notes, were the initiative presented by the Prime Minister as a matter of confidence, this could be done—though it would require the congress to be foolish enough to censure a PM twice.
Does the UPP have the convening power necessary to call a referendum, win a majority, and create a constituent assembly? Hard to say.
Humala’s 30 percent of the vote in the first round does not seem like a powerful mandate for change. One of the consequences of ballotage, however, is that it gives the executive a sense of having won a majority of the popular vote, even in the absence of a majority in congress. This is supposed to inoculate the system against coups, but it can also encourage hyper-presidentialism—meaning, a tendency for the president to want to bypass courts and congress on majoritarian grounds.
One could an eventual Humala government, fresh from a second round victory, insisting on a referendum to convene a constituent assembly and using the sense of momentum provided by a second round victory to create a force for change. Chavez did it in 1998-1999. Bernales makes a good point: this would take time. In fact, Chavez devoted virtually the entire period form 1998-2000 in a process of constitutional reform. One of the reasons for the flurry of decrees in 2001 (which is part of what prompted the opposition that culminated in general strikes and a coup attempt in 2002) was the sense that the social agenda had lagged due to efforts to create the Bolivarian constitution.
The alternative would be to modify the constitution using the faculties attributed to the congress by the existing constitution. The trouble with this that recent experience is not encouraging. However, as Bernales notes, between UPP, APRA and UN there may just be enough support to return to the 1979 constitution. Perhaps this is the formula.
In this opinion piece, Javier Valle-Riestra argues in favour of calling a constitutional assembly.
Ollanta Humala’s claim that Lourdes Flores, should she be elected, would not last a year continued to dominate the election campaign today. Lourdes Flores characterized the comment as “undemocratic” and Alan Garcia closed ranks with Lourdes Flores implying that Humala’s comments were cowardly. At issue is whether all the candidates are prepared to respect the democratic rules of the game. Flores and Garcia have used this opportunity to highlight their difference with Humala. Whether this will affect voting intentions is hard to know. It could well limit the chances of any further growth in support for Humala just days before the election. At a time when Humala wants to be creating a sensation of momentum and growth he is besieged by criticisms of his own comments, by the lunch between his vice presidential candidate and a prominent media owner, and by new evidence of elements in his entourage connected to the Montesinos mafia.
According to La Primera, Ollanta Humala has connections with a number of members of the mafia of Vladimiro Montesinos. These include Oscar Lopez Meneses, who supports Humala from prison, and has met with members of Humala’s graduating class. La Republica profiles Adrian Villafuerte Macha, who is part of the Humala campaign team and served under Cesar Saucedo, part of the Montesinos mafia. A piece in Agenciaperu.com makes the Humala uprising in October 2000 look like a bit of a tragi-comedy. It suggests the rebellion was carried out with the connivance of senior officers linked to Montesinos.
El procurador del Ministerio Público, Rolando Martel, ha solicitado al Tribunal Constitucional que examine propuesta ley de justicia militar que podria abrir la posibilidad de que militares en actividad ocupen cargos como la presidencia de la corte suprema.
Jaime Bayly has written an opinion piece in La Tercera responding to Elena de Humala, Mother of Candidate Ollanta Humala, calling for homosexuals to be shot. The statement outraged the GLBT community in Lima last week.
The Blog Blabbeando: Thoughts of a Latino gay dude in Nueva York has an article discusssing Jaime Bayly’s piece: Update: Peru’s next president won’t shoot gays (but his mom would)
The Radio and Television Association of Peru (ARTV) published a communiqué on March 22 expresing serious concerns with Ollanta Humala´s government plan. These concerns have been deepened by recent statements made by Antauro Humala, brother of Ollanta, stating that radios like Radio Programas del Perú (RPP) or Cadena Peruana de Noticias (CPN) should be expropriated. Ollanta Humala has marked distance with his brother´ statements and initiatives of such nature. Rosa Maria Palacios defends freedom of the press in an editorial on March 26. Enrique Zileri, as former president of th Peruvian Press Council (PCC) demanded the candidate Ollanta Humala to sharply distinguish his views from the ones expressed by his brother Antauro.
Updated – Elena Tasso de Humala, Mother of Candidate Ollanta Humala, calls for homosexuals to be shot
Ollanta Humala’s mother, Elena Tasso de Humala, has called for homosexuals to be shot. The statement has outraged the GLBT community in Lima. Ollanta Humala has requested his parents not to talk with the media until April 9. More about Peruvian political parties proposals to eliminate sexual discrimination in this posting.
LGBT activists supporting candidates of the Movimiento Nueva Izquierda have distributed an electronic communique accusing the local media of distorting the purpose of a public meeting that took place yesterday, March 22. The Activists denie that the purpose of the meeting was to protest against presidential candidate Ollanta Humala. The protest was against repressive measures taken by the Major of Lima against the LGBT community.
As Ollanta Humala takes the lead in the campaign, a chorus of analysts has begun to call attention to the implications of an Humala victory for Peru’s democratic regime. Sociologist Julio Cotler, writer Mario Vargas Llosa, and columnist Juan Paredes Castro are among the observers sounding the alarm.
Photo: J. Bazo
Oscar Ugarteche, Belissa Andía, Vicente Otta, Sandra Vallenas, Susel Paredes y Víctor Andrés García Belaúnde Velarde
Universidad del Pacifico and Weblog Peru Election 2006 Roundtable “Peru Election 2006: Analysis of Policy Platforms to Support Sexual Diversity”
Maxwell Cameron & Fabiola Bazo
March 20, 2006
Under the auspices of Universidad del Pacifico, a roundtable on “Policy Platforms to Support Sexual Diversity” was held on Friday, March 10, 2006. What follows is a brief summary some of the key issues and conclusions that emerged from the discussion.
Encuesta Nacional sobre exclusion y discriminacion social. Informe Final de analisis de resultados. Estudio realizado por DEMUS entre agosto y setiembre del 2004.
Universo: 1600 personas en zonas urbanas y rurales de 14 departamentos del Peru. Download file
Unless the National Election Board (JNE) backs down, the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance is threatening to take the election authorities to the Constitutional Tribunal in protest against the refusal of the JNE to allow a number of its candidates to run for congress.
APRA’s Lawyer, Javier Valle Riestra, argues that the right to be elected is a fundamental human right enshrined in the constitution and international conventions, and it cannot be denied by election authorities based on arbitrary legal resolutions without undermining the legitimacy of the electoral process. A constitutional challenge could mean further delays before the final list of candidates is known.
Meanwhile, the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) insists that the delays caused by the JNE affect its ability to print preparatory material necessary for the election and could mean the inability to get ballots to polling stations abroad. The election can be kept within the electoral calendar only if the JNE finalizes the list of candidates by tomorrow, said Magdalena Chu, the head of ONPE.
In a meeting in Ate Vitarte, Ollanta Humala read from the file containing his military service record (or “efficiency report”) in 1992, the same document that has mysteriously disappeared from the Ministry of Defense. He challenged the authorities to arrest him. (The Minister of Defense has said possession of this document is a crime). Humala read words of praise for his service, which suggested he had survived battles and recovered weapons without losing soldiers and was respected by soldiers under his command and by superior officers. Humala also stated that he is “the only candidate” to embrace the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in his plans for government.
Speaking in Quimbiri, a coca-producing region on the border between Ayacucho and Cusco, Ollanta Humala said Peru’s anti-narcotics efforts could operate without the assistance of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Humala is hoping to win the votes of coca-producing peasants in the highlands. He arrived in the area accompanied by coca leader Elsa Malpartida, candidate for the Andean Parliament for Union for Peru (Union Por el Peru, or UPP). According to Malpartida, fumigation of coca damages other plans grown in the area. Humala stated that he opposes the presence for foreign military personnel in Peru.
El Comercio offers two contrasting views on Humala’s position. Fernando Rospigliosi says Humala’s position favors drug traffickers since 90 percent of coca grown in Peru is illegal and supplies the drug trade. Without international assistance, Peru would succumb to drug trafficking. Hugo Cabieses favors the suspension of forceful eradication of coca following a gradual reduction of coca production based on cooperation with coca producing peasants. He cautions, however, that the proposal to expel the DEA is a copy the government of Hugo Chavez. Cabieses also notes the links between drug traffickers and the Shining Path.
We now know who was Ollanta Humala’s direct superior when he was chief of a military base in Madre Mia in 1992: Benigno Cabrera Pino. Cabrera Pino was also one of the commanders who freed the hostages taken by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) in the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima in December 1996. There were extrajudicial executions in that operation. He was also involved, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in extrajudicial executions in the Huallaga river in 1994.
Meanwhile, a fight has broken out between the Minister of Defense, Marciano Rengifo, who after weeks of stonewalling finally announced that Humala’s military record was vandalized and contains no information on his activities in 1992. Humala claims he has a photocopy of the report for that year, which he threatens to release unless the Minister provides an official copy within 5 days. In response, the Minister alleges it is a crime for a soldier to photocopy his own file.
The candidacy of José Luna Gálvez, of National Unity, has been rejected by the National Election Board because he has charges pending against him for having received money from Vladimiro Montesinos in exchange for joining the government bench in 2000. Lourdes Flores has reportedly not decided whether to go to bat for Luna.
The Ministry of Defense, after weeks of stonewalling about Ollanta Humala’s military record, now acknowledges that its files on Humala have been vandalized. The material on the key periods of interest to the public (including 1992 when Humala was in Madre Mia) are gone. Calls for the Minister of Defense Marciano Rengifo’s resignation are intensifying.
Ollanta Humala, if elected, will convene a Constituent Assembly with the power to close the congress elected on April 9. This proposal, as noted by Juan Carlos Tafur, bears a striking resemblance to the strategy used by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. It could undermine the separation of branches of government, and lay the basis for a regime with greater executive powers.
During an interview with Jaime Bayly (El Francotirador) on Sunday night, Lourdes Flores stated that she was not aware of a gay person who might be appointed to a cabinet post in a government she might form. In the interview, Flores went out of her way to express tolerance with respect to sexual orientation, but she also made it clear she does not regard homosexuality as natural. Victor Andres Garcia Belaunde, seeking to distinguish his party (Accion Popular/Frente de Centro) from Flores’ social conservatism, characterized her attitude as “homophobic.” He suggested Oscar Ugarteche could well be appointed to a cabinet position in a government of the Frente de Centro, perhaps as Finance Minister.
According to television news show host Rosa Maria Palacios, whenever she talks about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission viewers from privileged strata (the so-called A and B viewers) turn off the TV. That is, they did until the attacks on Ollanta Humala began. Now, A and B viewers can’t get enough of human rights denunciations!
Maxwell A. Cameron
February 11, 2006
One criticism of Lourdes Flores is that she tends to adopt positions that reflect a technocratic world view, rather than a more political one. Thus, for example, in a recent meeting with the foreign press, Flores insisted that she would respect all contracts with foreign investors. Valentín Paniagua, of the Frente de Centro had just proposed a modification to the contract to exploit natural gas of Camisea. You might say that Flores’ position was that of the good technocrat, while Paniagua’s position was that of a good politician. Which ever view you support, there is a clear difference.
Something of the same technocratic instinct seems to be behind Flores’ surprising defense of the decision by the Peruvian executive to pay 20 million Soles (about US $6 million) to Baruch Ivcher in recompense for the expropriation of his television station during the Fujimori government. Her position was based on technical grounds: this was money the state owed due to arbitrary actions committed in the past. Other candidates have been a bit more cautious, emphasizing the lack of transparency and equity in this payment. In a country where minimum wage is about US $150 per month, one would expect all the candidates to think about the optics of making a payment of $6 million to a well-connected and influential businessman.
Jorge Bazo Escudero
10 de febrero del 2006
Tras las revelaciones del periodista César Hildebrandt en el programa de espectáculos “Magaly TV” sobre el cheque por S/.20’378,000 que el presidente de Frecuencia Latina, Baruch Ivcher, recibió el 22 de diciembre pasado como indemnización de parte del estado por la expropiación del Canal 2 en el gobierno de Alberto Fujimori, llegaron los descargos de los implicados. Ivcher afirmó que por una cuestión de seguridad no tenía porque hacer público el pago de 20 millones de dólares que le realizó el estado peruano como indemnización y que la sentencia de la Corte de Costa Rica indicaba que el estado violó mis derechos judiciales, por lo que sus ex socios, los hermanos Winter, quedaban exonerados de este pago. Por otra parte, el primer ministro Pedro Pablo Kuczynski justificó el pago de reparación al empresario televisivo y acusó a Hildebrandt de actuar con “saña”; a la vez que Fernando Olivera, manifestó que quienes deberían de pagar esta indemnización son el ex presidente Alberto Fujimori, su asesor Vladimiro Montesinos y los hermanos Winter, porque fueron los causantes del daño a Ivcher. Como réplica, Hildebrandt sostuvo esta tarde que Kuczynski miente en el caso del monto del pago, porque la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) nunca fijo un monto requerido al demandante.
Carlos Noriega from Pagina 12 assesses the state of Peruvian media after the cancellation of Cesar Hildebrant program in Frecuencia Latina.
Tras denunciar el lunes 6 de febrero en el programa de espectáculos “Magaly TV” el matrimonio existente entre los medios y el poder económico, el periodista César Hildebrant se presentó sorpresivamente por segunda vez en este programa para mostrar la copia de un cheque girado por el Ministerio de Justicia a nombre de Baruch Ivcher, dueño de Frecuencia Latina, por la cantidad de 20 millones de soles, por el concepto de una indemnización que reclamaba al gobierno por los perjuicios económicos que le provocó la confiscación de su canal durante el gobierno de Alberto Fujimori, cantidad superior a la compensación económica que ordenó la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos el 2001. Atribuye a este hecho como el causal del retiro de su programa del aire.
The Constitutional Tribunal, Peru’s supreme court in constitutional matters, has agreed to review the law of military justice to determine its constitutionality. Meanwhile, the National Council of Magistrates has already begun to nominate military justices.
Maxwell A. Cameron
February 4, 2006
The new organic law of military justice militarizes Peru’s judicial system and undermines the rule of law. It has been challenged as unconstitutional by Fiscal de la Nacion Adelaida Bolivar, in part because It places the military justice system within the civilian judiciary in ways that cannot be overseen by the Fiscal de la Nacion. Under the new law it is possible that a military judge could be come the president of the supreme court.
The law undermines the autonomy of the judiciary since the new justices will be subject to the discipline and control of the military hierarchy, giving the military a say in what issues are dealt with in which courts. The military will have an obvious interest in ensuring that all cases dealing with human rights abuses will fall under the jurisdiction of military judges. The new military court system will be run by military judges, most of whom have questioned pasts. Consider the nominees:
- Hugo Pow Sang Sotelo signed a letter of loyalty to Vladimiro Montesinos and archived the Cantuta case in favor of Montesinos.
- Pedro Cabezas Cordoba has resisted investigations into corruption in the armed forces.
- Nelson Echaiz signed a letter of loyalty to Montesinos. He is involved in a case of drug trafficking.
- Percy Catacora S. was the judge who sentensed Gustavo Cesti, a retired military officer who should not have been tried in a military court.
- Demetrio Rojas Talla has argued that human rights cases should be dealt within military courts.
The militarization of the judiciary in Peru is especially disturbing in light of the fact that one of the leading candidates in the 2006 election, Ollanta Humala, has been accused of human rights crimes. The clarification of such allegations is likely to be hindered by military control over the judicial branch of government, especially if the military is successful in asserting jurisdiction over human rights crimes. The fox is in the henhouse.
Maxwell A. Cameron
February 3, 2006
Photo: M.A. Cameron
Susana Villarán, presidential candidate for Concertación Descentralista, participated in a symbolic flag-washing ceremony to express opposition to a new law of military justice, Law No. 28665. The law, which was promulgated last month, creates a parallel system of military justice along side the civil judiciary. The ceremony was held shortly after noon in front of the National Magistrates Council in the 35 hundred block of the Paseo de la República in San Isidro.
Photo: M.A. Cameron
A group of supporters were on hand with buckets of soap, water, and flags. Among those present were congressional candidates Fabricio Orozco, Roberto Sánchez, Manuel Dammert, Oscar Badillo, and José Carlos Vera. When Villarán arrived, the crowd chanted slogans like “Susana is decent, Susana is brave” or “Susana, for sure, be tough with the mafia” (Susana, segura, a la mafia dale dura).
Photo: M.A. Cameron
I asked one of Villarán’s supporters why the law had been passed, and why now? He said the law was introduced and passed in the legislature at this time because, for the first time ever, the members of the armed forces and the police can vote. Political parties like the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA), National Unity (UN) and the Independent Moralizing Front (FIM) all voted in favor of this law in order to curry favor with the military voters. The bill, sponsored by Luis Iberico of the FIM, was passed into law very quickly, and with little debate, in December of last year. Arguing that it opens the way to more impunity, and goes against the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the spokesperson for Concertación Decentralista said the law constitutes a “golpe de estado” (or coup) against the judicial branch of government.
Photo: M.A. Cameron
The purpose of the flag washing was to bring pressure to bear upon the National Magistrates Council to refuse to name justices to the military courts until a constitutional challenge to the law of military justice is heard in the Constitutional Tribunal, Peru’s equivalent of a supreme court for constitutional matters. The nation’s top lawyer, or Fiscal de la Nación (often translated inaccurately as Attorney General, but in fact the office of Fiscal de la Nación is fully autonomous and responsible for upholding the rule of law in the agencies of government), Adelaida Bolívar has challenged the constitutionality of the law.
Photo: M.A. Cameron
After washing the flag, Villarán held a media scrum in which she praised Bolívar as a brave supporter of democracy, and denounced the law of military justice, saying it was approved “between the rooster and midnight.” She said that symbolically washing the flag evokes the “healthiest tradition of the defense of democracy.” In 2000, at the end of the Fujimori regime, flag-washing ceremonies were held in front of the palace of government. The event today was meant as a reminder of the dark days of that period. Villarán asked what kind of democracy Peruvians want.
Photo: M.A. Cameron
A flier was circulated that called for the defense of the rule of law, democracy and the institutionality of the armed forces. The key points in the flier were:
- The law of military justice is a violation of the rule of law because it creates a system of justice parallel to the judiciary and public ministry.
- It creates a new layer of bureaucracy, with 176 new judges who are active duty military officers and hence subject to hierarchy, discipline, and obedience to superiors.
- It creates a competition over competence in the area of human rights law.
- It opens the door to a militaristic regime and weakens civil liberties.
- All presidential candidates should state their position with respect to this law.
- No justices should be appointed until the constitutionality of the law is resolved.
- Laws, like the recently proposed amnesty, that weaken the rule of law hurt the military and the nation alike.
- The armed forces should be modernized and professionalized.
How likely is military justice to emerge as a campaign issue? Leaving aside members of the armed forces, who have an obvious interest in the topic, most Peruvians are unlikely to care a good deal. The parties that support this law are the front-runners in the campaign, while Concertación Descentralista is in the single digits in opinion polls. One of Villarán’s supporters acknowledged that many Peruvians are more concerned about getting bread and butter on the table than they are with arcane issues of military justice, but he argued that it is important to get the issue on the agenda of other candidates and make this one of the issues voters think about when going to the polls.
Military courts were key pillars of the militaristic political regime created by former President Alberto Fujimori. These courts lacked the most rudimentary elements of due process, often refusing to accept writs of habeas corpus issued by civilian judges. They also claimed jurisdiction over civilians, and treated former military officers in retirement as if they were still part of the chain of command. Many of the judges who are now being considered for appointment to the military courts were defenders of Montesinos, Fujimori’s corrupt intelligence chief. Some signed letters of subjection to Montesinos, or were involved in the cover-up of Montesinos’ role in the Cantuta massacre of 1992. One ordered the capture of General Rodolfo Robles after he blew the whistle on human rights abuses by the high command.
Photo: M.A. Cameron
Rosa Maria Palacios has written a thoughtful critical essay on parliamentary immunity. Recent reports of criminal proceedings against candidates would be less disturbing were it not for the fact that, once elected, a member of congress has immunity from prosecution. In practice, the congress rarely lifts parliamentary immunity.
La Primera has carried a couple of stories on the involvement of Carlos Torres Caro, candidate for vice president in the Humala slate, in the cover-up of election fraud in 1995, known as the Huanucazo. At the time, Torres Caro was working for the Public Ministry, which was run by Blanca Nelida Colan. She was a key ally of Vladimiro Montesinos, the de facto head of the National Intelligence Service. Torres Caro has threatened La Primera with a lawsuit.
[UPDATE: In Hoy con Hildebrandt on January 24, Humala denied that Torres Caro was in any way involved in the Huanucazo. We can find no independent support for the allegation either on the Internet or from with people involved. If anyone has information, we welcome it. --M.A.C. 25.1.06]
Today La Republica reports that Torres Caro offered his legal advice to Genaro Delgado Parker when the mediate magnate was in trouble with the law due to incriminating evidence found on Vladivideos (videos from the archive of the National Intelligence Service, taped by Vladimiro Montesinos). The problem is that at the time Torres Caro was still working for the Public Ministry.
The implication of this is that Torres Caro was a member of the judicial mafia that controlled the Public Ministry under Fujimori and he used his post to peddle influence even after Fujimori and Montesinos fell from power.