Fortalecimiento de defensores/as de derechos humanos

Peruvian villagers demand justice at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Human Rights groups denounced today serious violations committed against the rural community of Santa Barbara by the Peruvian military during the internal armed conflict in Peru.

The case of the rural community of Santa Barbara is yet another example demonstrating a pattern of impunity and a generalized and systematic practice conducted by the Peruvian Army of carrying out forced disappearances, extra judicial executions, massacres and other human rights violations during the internal armed conflict in Peru. Thus far, investigations and prosecutions by the State for these crimes have been minimal.

Wed, 01/28/2015

 

San Jose, January 27th 2015.- Human Rights groups denounced today serious violations committed against the rural community of Santa Barbara by the Peruvian military during the internal armed conflict in Peru.

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and Asociación Paz y Esperanza stood before a public hearing at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court) in defense of members the quechua speaking, Andean community.

On July 4th 1991, members of the Peruvian army advanced a military operation that ravaged two sectors of the community. During the course of the operation, the military arrested 15 members of the community, most of them women and children, who were suspected of belonging to subversive groups. Members of the group were beaten, their houses were burned to the ground, and their cattle as well as other belongings were stolen by soldiers. Afterwards, the victims were led towards the Varallon mine (nicknamed the Mysterious mine by the community) where they were executed with bursts of high-caliber automatic rifles. Finally the military used dynamite to disappear the remains.

“The moral damage of taking my family away from me is something that you’ll never cure. The wound that I have inside my heart will never heal,” said Zenon Cirilo Onzayo Tunque, husband and father of 4 of the victims, “I would like to have their remain, to know where are my children buried, at least to light them a candle or take them a flower.”

The case of the rural community of Santa Barbara is yet another example demonstrating a pattern of impunity and a generalized and systematic practice conducted by the Peruvian Army of carrying out forced disappearances, extra judicial executions, massacres and other human rights violations during the internal armed conflict in Peru. Thus far, investigations and prosecutions by the State for these crimes have been minimal.

In the present case, a large group of military personnel planned and executed the operation, but until now only one active sentence of 20 years issued in 2012 by the National Criminal Court of Peru against Sargent Oscar Alberto Carrera Gonzalez exists. This same sentence ordered the processing of five other military personnel and the investigation of 3 high ranking officers. Two of them, Dennis Wilfredo Pacheco Zambrano and Javier Bendezú Vargas, are currently fugitives from justice. Both of them have active arrest warrants through INTERPOL.  However the Peruvian authorities have not taken the necessary steps to effectuate their arrests, and the rest of the military personnel involved have not been adequately investigated.

These were some of the points raised during the hearing. CEJIL concluded pointing out the lack of access to justice, truth, and reparation for the victims, the lack of timely prosecution of the fugitive military personnel, and the climate of inefficacy present in the Peruvian State that left this case on the backburner for over 20 years, even after the events of the massacre were partially recognized by the State.

”It’s unacceptable that Peru continues to avoid its obligations concerning the complete fulfillment of rulings issued over cases of severe human rights violations that occurred during the internal armed conflict,” expressed Francisco Quintana, Director of the Andean Region and North American Program for CEJIL,   ”The fugitives who were involved in the massacre of Santa Barbara must be captured and judged so that the State can fully clarify the events and finally fulfill its duty of reparations for the victims. The echoes of what happened in the Varallon mine have been reverberating for 23 years. The time for justice is now. ”

The organizations requested the Peruvian State to guarantee the right to the truth and the integrity to the family of the victims and the provision of structural repairs, the establishment of a mechanism that will facilitate the identification of the remains and finally the provision of integrated answers that take in account the necessities of the community.

Meanwhile the Peruvian State refuted the classification of the case as one of forced disappearance instead of extra judicial execution, pointed to lack of funds as one of the causes delaying further investigation processes and  the identification of one of the victims as such.

Additional Information

The peasant community of Santa Barbara is nestled in the Andean mountains that trace the south central area of the country of the department of Huancavelica.The majority of the residents dedicated to cattle herding and agriculture.

Human Rights Groups denounce serious human rights violations in Peru

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and its partners—the Association for Human Rights (APRODEH) and the Commission on Human Rights (COMISEDH)— condemned the designation of the retired General Daniel Urresti as Minister of the Interior of Peru. Urresti is being prosecuted as an alleged perpetrator of the murder of journalist Hugo Bustíos and the attempted murder of his companion, Eduardo Rojas Arce.

 

 

 

Thu, 11/06/2014

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and its partners—the Association for Human Rights (APRODEH) and the Commission on Human Rights (COMISEDH)— condemned the designation of the retired General Daniel Urresti as Minister of the Interior of Peru. Urresti is being prosecuted as an alleged perpetrator of the murder of journalist Hugo Bustíos and the attempted murder of his companion, Eduardo Rojas Arce.

According to a presentation given by CEJIL in the presence of Peruvian state representatives on October 29, 2014 at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Urresti’s designation as Interior Minister violates the state’s international obligations.
During the meeting the petitioners also alleged the state committed a breach of its commitments to the Commission and to victims of violations of human rights within the framework of the Joint Press Release Case.

In 2001, Peru and the Commission signed a press release documenting the commitments made by the State regarding 165 cases of serious human rights violations processed before the Commission, among them the murder of journalist Hugo Bustíos.

At the time of signing the press release, the Peruvian government said that the commitments ushered in a new dawn for policies geared towards the protection of human rights within the country. However, more than 13 years onwards, Peru continues to fail to meet its obligations. Among them, the pending compliance of the arrest warrants against members of the security forces and the provision of housing to 509 victims and their families.

But to date, none of the warrants have been fulfilled and many of the defendants continue to carry out their public functions. With regards to the housing situation, despite the promises made before the Commission by the State on Thursday October 30 to transfer the property to the victims that week, the transfer has not yet been executed.

According to CEJIL APRODEH and COMISEDH such breaches demonstrate a lack of political will by the state.

"The lack of compliance with the commitments made by Peru in the press release highlight a prevailing climate of impunity and constitute further damage to the rights of victims of serious human rights violations in Peru ," said Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of CEJIL .

Paraguayan peasants expose high levels of violence and impunity at the Inter-American Commission

Cases of violence against peasants in Uruguay were presented at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, where the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) addressed the distinct expressions of this violence, which affects the right to life, personal integrity and access to justice on behalf of peasants, as a result of their fight for access and tenancy of land in Paraguay.

Tue, 11/04/2014

Washington D.C., October 31, 2014. – Cases of violence against peasants in Uruguay were presented at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, where the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) addressed the distinct expressions of this violence, which affects the right to life, personal integrity and access to justice on behalf of peasants, as a result of their fight for access and tenancy of land in Paraguay.

Martina González Paredes testified directly to the fact that at least 110 cases of executions and disappearances of leaders and members of pro-peasant organizations have taken place between February 3,, 1989 and August 15, 2013. Of the 91 open cases, only 8 cases have advanced to partial convictions, without the clarification of facts or punishment for those responsible for the alleged crimes.

After thanking Martina for her testimony, James L. Cavallaro, Rapporteur of Persons Deprived of Right to Liberty asked the representatives of the State of Paraguay if they could not investigate the 115 unpunished murders,  and commented “it is important to put a face to the facts.”

On his part, the Rapporteur for Social and Economic Rights, Paulo Vannuchi, has underlined that in the circumstances that peasants live in, “many times the fight for land represents the fight for food for their children.”

The lack of adequate and diligent investigation by the State, in order to identify and convict those responsible of these violations of human rights, was also denounced during the hearing.

The hearing was part of the joint work of civil society organizations and peasant groups in Paraguay, denouncing the violence and impunity for violations of human rights in the country.

Justice César Barrientos Pellecer, symbol of the fight against impunity in Guatemala, passes away

CEJIL regrets the loss of the judge

San Jose and Washington DC, March 3, 2014. The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) expresses its sincerest regret for the death of Dr. César Barrientos Pellecer who passed away on March 2. CEJIL would like to extend its condolences and sympathies to his family and loved ones.

Sat, 03/08/2014

Fotografía Ilustrativa César BarrientosSan Jose and Washington DC, March 3, 2014. The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) expresses its sincerest regret for the death of Dr. César Barrientos Pellecer who passed away on March 2. CEJIL would like to extend its condolences and sympathies to his family and loved ones.

CEJIL’s members had the privilege of working with Dr. Barrientos both academically and professionally and knew the values and principles that characterized his life. Today we remember his legacy, past and invaluable contributions to the fight against impunity in Guatemala.

Dr. Barrientos served as a judge of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Guatemala (Cámara Penal de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de Guatemala). In the exercise of his duties he pushed a series of reforms that sped up the criminal process. In addition, he took steps to guarantee victims greater access to justice in the country. Likewise, Dr. Barrientos was noted for his boundless support for high-risk tribunals, in an effort to guarantee their proper functioning, efficiency and independence. In this vein, he advocated for the safety of and job security for the members of the court.

In relation to the Inter-American Human Rights System, Justice Barrientos was a believer in the importance of the decisions issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. His influence was a determining factor in Guatemala recognizing the auto-enforceability of the Inter-American Court’s judgments. Viviana Krsticevic, CEJIL’s Executive Director, noted that, “thanks to the Criminal Chamber’s decisions, overseen by Dr. Barrientos, many criminal procedures were reopened and several public officials responsible for grave human rights violations were tried. These actions broke the cycle of impunity that characterized Guatemala, giving hope to thousands of people.”

Dr. Barrientos also participated in the drafting of civil procedure codes as well as in the judicial modernization process in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, transcending Guatemalan frontiers through his judicial and academic legacy.

CEJIL regrets the loss of a man of such integrity, defender of judicial independence and tireless fighter for Central American justice. The organization urges the authorities to conduct the necessary investigations to clarify the events surrounding his death.

“His contributions must serve as inspiration for the present and future generations, who, like him, aspire to construct a solid rule of law in Guatemala, where truth and justice are a reality for all. We respectfully call on the authorities to honor the memory of Judge Barrientos and guarantee administration of justice that is transparent, independent, effective and open to its victims,” stressed Marcia Aguiluz, Program Director for Central America and Mexico.

Press Contact

Daniela Araya

+506 22807473

daraya@cejil.org

 

 

 

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