Washington, D.C., Lima, June 6, 2015.- The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Perú (APRODEH) applaud the news of the capture of Major José Luis Chávez Velásquez (a) Centauro, who was captured on May 22, 2015 by the police in Lima, Peru for his implication in the disappearance of seven Huancapi residents in 1991.
“After almost 11 years of the arrest warrant being issued and 24 years of evidence, at last the people that have been accused of serious human rights violations are going to appear in court”, said Gloria Cano of APRODEH.
The Huancapi case is one of 165 serious human rights violations cases heard by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), as part of an agreement established in 2001 by the Peruvian State and picked up in a Joint Press Release in which the Peruvian state recognizes its international responsibility for human rights violations and promises to repay the victims and their families and to carry out investigations intended to identify and sanction those who are responsible, as well as to take steps so these violations will not occur again.
In 2004, an arrest warrant was issued against then-lieutenant Chávez Velásquez who topped a list of 20 accused military personnel with outstanding arrest warrants for human rights violations committed during Peru’s internal armed conflict. Despite the warrant, Chávez Velásquez lived freely in a military barrack and continued his duties. In 2010 he was promoted to the position of Major by the Armed Forces in the 31th infantry brigade. Moreover, the authorities of the Joint Command of the Armed Forced and the Ministry of Defense denied the judicial police in 2013 entry to the military base where he worked, saying that they had no obligation to place him under the provision of the law and causing the delay for the start of the oral trial.
On October 29, 2014 and March 21, 2015 the IACHR established working groups in which CEJIL, APRODEH and the Commission of Human Rights (COMISEDH) denounced the Peruvian state’s failure to comply with various commitments assumed in the 2001 Joint Press Release, including the failure to comply with the arrest warrant against Chávez Velásquez.
“The arrest is a positive step for justice and we hope to see the fulfillment of the commitments made by the State in 2001, among them the capture of other active or retired functionaries of the public forces that have been prosecuted for serious human rights violations”, said Vivian Krsticevic, Executive Director of CEJIL.
In April 19, 1991 Zenón Huamaní Chuchón, Eleuterio Fernández Quispe, Napoleón Quispe Ortega, Onofredo Huamaní Quispe, Luis Amaru Quispe, Julio Arotoma Cacñahuaray, who were all registered as candidates for the United Left Party for the municipal elections in Huancapi, Ayacucho, and Honorata Oré Huilcahuari (wife of Julio Arotoma) were detained by a military patrol lead at the time by Sub-lieutenant Chávez Velásquez. The six were transferred to a local military base and since then their whereabouts are still unknown.