LIMA – Families of people killed by security forces under the rule of Alberto Fujimori said on Wednesday that they hope the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will order Peru to revoke the pardon granted earlier this week to the disgraced former president.
The incumbent president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, announced Christmas Eve that he was pardoning Fujimori on humanitarian grounds.
Fujimori, 79, was sentenced in 2009 to 25 years in prison for the deaths of more than a score of people in the La Cantuta and Barrios Altos massacres.
Relatives of the La Cantuta and Barrios Altos victims held a press conference Wednesday to outline their strategy for returning the ex-president to prison.
One of the attorneys representing the families, Carlos Rivera, said there were ample legal grounds to challenge the pardon, beginning with the fact that the real motivation for the decision was political, not humanitarian.
Rivera, echoing many others in Peru, said that Kuczynski issued the pardon as a part of a deal to avoid impeachment on corruption allegations.
Kuczynski signed the pardon just three days after the congressional impeachment motion was defeated thanks to the votes of 10 opposition lawmakers led by Kenji Fujimori, Alberto’s son.
The lawyer also accused the Prime Minister Mercedes Araoz of lying to congress last Thursday – the day of the vote on impeachment – when she denied any knowledge of the pardon even as her office was processing the application.
The head of the Ecumenical Foundation for Development and Peace, David Velasco, said that the presence of Fujimori’s personnel physician on the medical board that recommended the pardon was a glaring conflict of interest.
Speaking for the Aprodeh human rights association, attorney Christian Huaylinos said he planned to ask Peru’s National Criminal Court to declare the pardon unconstitutional because it included a ban on prosecuting Fujimori for another massacre.
The medical board concluded that Fujimori was suffering from a “progressive, degenerative and incurable disease” likely to be aggravated by the conditions in prison.
But according to a leftist lawmaker, Fujimori enjoyed comfortable conditions in prison.
The former president’s quarters were equipped with an adjustable orthopedic bed, an oxygen tank, television, telephone, kitchen and library, Indira Huilca told EFE on Tuesday after a visit to the prison.
Wednesday also brought another resignation from the Kuczynski administration, as Culture Minister Salvador Del Solar quit in protest over the Fujimori pardon, following the example of Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio.
Three other sub-Cabinet officials resigned on Tuesday, while one of Kuczynski’s few legislative allies quit the president’s PKK party and two others are expected to do likewise.
Alberto Fujimori’s government collapsed in Fall 2000 amid a burgeoning corruption scandal involving spy chief and top adviser Vladimiro Montesinos.
When the dismissal of Montesinos failed to appease public outrage, Fujimori fled Peru for Japan, from where he faxed his resignation as president.
Tokyo granted Fujimori asylum by virtue of the Japanese citizenship his emigrant parents obtained for him at the time of his birth in Peru. Had Peruvian authorities known of his dual citizenship, he would never have been allowed to run for president.
Although he was safe from extradition in Japan, Fujimori traveled to Chile unexpectedly on Nov. 6, 2005, apparently with hopes of returning to Peru to compete in the 2006 presidential election.
But Chilean authorities promptly arrested him on an Interpol warrant and he was ultimately turned over to Peru for trial.