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NCJ Number: 161080 Find in a Library
Title: Peru: The Two Faces of Justice
Author(s): R Kirk
Corporate Author: Human Rights Watch
United States of America
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 52
Sponsoring Agency: Human Rights Watch
New York, NY 10118-3299
Sale Source: Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue
34th Floor
New York, NY 10118-3299
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper assesses Peru's judicial system from a human rights perspective and recommends changes.
Abstract: Having shut down the Congress and courts and assumed extraordinary powers on April 5, 1992, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori decreed new, broad definitions for terrorism and treason, a punitive and life-threatening prison regime for those accused, and a dual system of "faceless" courts, some civilian and some military, whose procedures deny the accused the most basic due process rights. The current system provides for secret trials by prosecutors and judges whose identities are never revealed (faceless courts). These trials violate the international obligation of the state to provide an independent and impartial tribunal. Incommunicado police detention is permitted for 15 days for those suspected of either terrorism or treason; this may be extended to 30 days on request by police. Police routinely torture those accused of terrorism or treason, and testimony gained through torture is regularly used at trial. The newly defined crime of terrorism violates freedom of expression by criminalizing acts such as "provoking anxiety," "affecting international relations," or seeming to favor or excuse the behavior of suspected guerrillas. Access to counsel is severely restricted. Among the recommendations offered in this report are an end to military jurisdiction over crimes committed by civilians, an end to secret military trials for military and police officers accused of committing human rights violations, and the elimination of lengthy incommunicado detention. Overall, Peru must guarantee the independence of the judiciary by ensuring that those appointed to the country's courts and prosecutors' offices are free from political pressure. Peru should also reform the terrorism law and appoint an independent judicial body to review all cases adjudicated since 1992. A list of reforms are suggested to prevent the jailing of more innocent people. 299 footnotes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Foreign courts; Peru; Right to Due Process; Rights of the accused
Note: From Human Rights Watch Americas, V 7, N 9, July 1995.
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