Peruvian Congress Approves Statute of Limitations for Crimes Against Humanity Committed Before 2002


LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru’s Congress on Thursday passed a law establishing a statute of limitations for crimes against humanity committed before 2002, a move that rights groups warn could encourage impunity and hamper investigations into serious abuses.

It could also benefit figures such as: former president Alberto Fujimori and retired military personnel accused of – or even convicted of – crimes committed between 1980 and 2000 during an internal armed conflict that left thousands of victims.

According to the Peruvian Public Prosecutor’s Office, the legislation will directly affect 550 victims and 600 cases, including investigations and legal proceedings that would be archived or dismissed due to a statute of limitations.

Fujimori, who ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000, was convicted in 2009 on charges of human rights violations. He was accused of masterminding the murder of 25 Peruvians while the government was fighting communist rebels called the Shining Path.

The new law was in fact promoted by the right-wing Popular Force (FP) party, led by Keiko Fujimorithe daughter of former President Fujimori, and it states that “no one shall be prosecuted, convicted or sanctioned for war crimes or crimes against humanity committed before 1 July 2002.”

The law was already approved in June, but it had to be voted on a second time on Thursday.

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte can pass the bill or send it back to Congress with further recommendations. Boluarte has not said what she will do.

Several lawmakers who served as military or naval personnel during the armed civil conflict support the law.

The Institute for Democracy and Human Rights of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru said in a statement that “the law aims to limit the application of internal justice by eradicating any criminal liability due to the passage of time.”

In June, several human rights organizations in Peru warned that if the law were to pass, it would promote impunity in all cases related to the internal armed conflict of 1980 to 2000. One example is the famous trial in which former President Fujimori was accused of the 1992 massacre of six farmers, who were executed by a secret group of soldiers.

Earlier this year, former Peruvian intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos, a close associate of Fujimori, sentenced to 19 years and eight months in prison in connection with the 1992 massacre.

According to a truth commission that studied the period of the conflict, the victims were mainly indigenous people caught up in fighting between security forces and members of the Shining Path rebel group. The commission estimates that the conflict cost 70,000 lives.


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