period for submission
According to Article 46(1)(b) of the Convention, the petitions must
be submitted within six months from the date when the person whose rights
have allegedly been violated has been notified of the final decision in
the domestic jurisdiction. According to Article 46(2) of the Convention,
that rule does not apply when one of the exceptions to the prior
exhaustion rule, referred to in that same article, is applicable. Having
concluded that the exceptions referred to at Article 46(2)(c) and 46(2)(a)
of the American Convention apply to the cases under study, the Commission
concludes that the requirement regarding time period for submission does
Article 38 of the Commission’s Regulations provides that the time
period for submission “shall be a reasonable period of time, in the
Commission’s judgment, as from the date on which the alleged violation
of rights has occurred, considering the circumstances of each specific
case.” Accordingly, the Commission wishes to add that to date there has
been no firm and final decision regarding who is responsible for the
violations alleged in any of the cases under study, and, moreover, the 25
complaints were submitted promptly to the Commission, as follows: 16
petitions within a time period running from several days (six) to less
than six months as of the date of the extrajudicial executions alleged
and of the illegal detention alleged;
in six other cases, the petitions were submitted after the
sixth and up to the tenth month after the date on which the events
and in three cases, two,
and seven years after the fact, but in
last case cited within six months and four days from the date on
which the provisional archiving of the inquiry was ordered.
The Commission understands that the subject matter of the petitions
is not pending before any other international body for settlement nor has
it been examined by this or any other international entity.
Therefore, the requirements established in Articles 46(1)(a) and
47(d) are met.
of the facts
The Commission considers that the petitioners have stated facts
which, if true, could characterize a violation of the rights guaranteed by
the American Convention.
As set forth in the part on the processing of each of the 17 cases
under analysis, the Commission, in keeping with Article 48(1)(f) of the
Convention, placed itself at the disposal of the interested parties in
order to pursue a friendly settlement based on respect for the human
rights recognized in the American Convention, but in none of the cases was
it possible to initiate the process of pursuing friendly settlement.
In this chapter, the Commission will proceed to determine the
possible participation of State agents in the systematic violation of
certain human rights in Peru, from 1984 to 1993.
As documented in this report, during that period the overall
context shows the systematic violation of the right to life, in the form
of summary executions and forced disappearances at the hands of State
agents or persons related to them. Of
the 25 petitions, among others received, 15 refer to extrajudicial
executions, six complaints allege the forced disappearance of persons, and
four petitions allege the summary execution and forced disappearance of
some victims; the merits analysis includes a study of those two
situations, i.e. the systematic practice of arbitrary executions in
conjunction with the systematic practice of forced disappearances.
executions in Peru
As stated above, the Commission decided to combine the 25 cases
under study based on the consideration that the facts alleged suggest the
existence of a systematic pattern of violations of the right to life in
Peru. Some cases that are the
subject of this report include several individuals in a single complaint,
most of them subjected to extrajudicial executions (83 persons) by State
agents or persons linked to them, and tolerated by the State, perpetrated
from 1984 to 1993, in the context of what were called “anti-subversive”
military operations, which were carried out with a similar modus
execution as a practice
In this chapter, the Commission analyzes the possible existence of
a systematic practice of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions by
agents of the Peruvian State, in tandem with the State practice of forced
disappearance of persons
during the above-mentioned period (1984-1993).
The study includes a brief outline of the historical framework, the
analysis of the characteristics of that practice, the modus operandi, and a profile of the persons chosen as victims.
These arbitrary executions were often consummated during that
period using procedures that display similar and identifiable
characteristics, in specific geographic areas, which were under a state of
emergency and where “anti-subversive” operations were under way by the
State. During the period
covered in this report, political violence became entrenched throughout
Peru. The worsening of the
conflict deteriorated to the point of annulling the promotion and
protection of human rights. Reports
from this period reflect the fragility of the right to life, liberty, and
personal integrity. Extensive
geographic zones were declared to be in a state of emergency
and the conflict even reached into urban areas.
In its Report on the
Situation of Human Rights in Peru, of March 12, 1993,
the Commission noted that for during the same period, it had
“decided 16 cases of summary execution, involving 22 victims.”
That same report stated that in the first year of the Fujimori
government “individual and mass summary executions were still being
conducted, such as those that occurred in Chilcahuaycco, Chumbibilcas,
Iquicha and Santa Bárbara. These were incidents blamed on security
forces, at times acting in concert with the so-called peasant gangs.”
The State itself, in an official communication of September 18, 1990,
indicated that government agents carrying out the struggle
against the guerrillas had committed excesses and abuses, although it was
not a systematic practice of human rights violations. The Presidential
Directive on human rights dated September 13, 1991
noted that “only the definitive elimination of injustice and
marginality can finish off the subversives,” and at Section III of that
Presidential Directive, the State officially recognized the phenomenon of
extrajudicial executions, stating: “The results are not yet as
encouraging as we would like, for there need only be one person
disappeared, one person killed, to call the situation dramatic and
horrifying. Nonetheless, the
numbers are diminishing notably, and what is most important, we have the
firmest aim of achieving a situation in our country in which there is not
a single person disappeared, and in which torture and extrajudicial
execution are eliminated for good.”
The Inter-American Commission, in the above-noted 1993 Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Peru, at paragraph 39,
noted the publication, on July 14, 1991, through a political program, of
“the alleged existence of a directive for execution of antisubversive
operations, which contained principles contrary to the observance of human
rights, such as condoning the use of torture and summary executions.”
Even though the Joint Command of the Armed forces issued a communiqué
stating “the document is not consistent with either the philosophy or
the spirit of the directives of the Joint Command, so that investigations
have been ordered to ascertain those responsible,” as of the date of
publication of that report, the results had not been disclosed.
In contrast, the political program in which the publication was
produced ceased broadcasting due to a conflict between the director of the
program and the directors of the TV channel.
Due to the rupture of the democratic institutional order in Peru on
April 5, 1992, the closing down and occupation of the Congress and the
Supreme Court, the persecution and arrest of opposition political leaders
and one journalist, who remained detained, with no knowledge as to their
whereabouts, and the occupation of the “Miguel Castro Castro”
Penitentiary which led to grave human rights violations in Peru, the
Permanent Council of the Organization of American States convened an
ad-hoc meeting of Ministers of Foreign Relations, which was held April 13,
1992, in Washington, which resolved “to appeal for the immediate
reestablishment of democratic institutional order in Peru, for an end to
all actions that impair the observance of human rights, and for abstention
from the adoption of any new measures that will further aggravate the
situation.” It also
resolved to “voice profound concern over the present status of rights
and liberties in Peru....”
At the same time, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on
Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, who
visited Peru in 1993, in paragraph 26 of his report verified the decline
in the number of complaints alleging arbitrary executions, as it was found
that in the first six months of 1992 there were 74 complaints, and during
the same period for 1993 there were 19. Yet he also noted that by
September 1993 there were 35 extrajudicial executions.
The above-mentioned special rapporteur, in UN document
E/CN.4/1995/61, of December 14, 1994, paragraph 250, stated:
reports and allegations received by the Special Rapporteur during 1994
indicate that violations of the right to life continue to occur in Peru.
As in former years, such reports refer to killings due to abuse of force
by law enforcement personnel and members of the rondas
campesinas, peasant self-defence groups cooperating with the
security forces. In a large number of these cases, the victims are
peasants suspected of being members or sympathizers of the armed
insurgency. Particularly disturbing reports in this regard were received
concerning the Huallaga valley in the Peruvian selva, where military
counter-insurgency operations were said to have caused the death of
more than 60 civilians, some of them allegedly after torture, in early
The same special rapporteur, in UN document E/CN.4/1994/7/Add.2,
paragraph 54, on the existence of death squads, stated:
These documents lead the Commission to conclude that in the period
from 1984 to 1993, there was a systematic practice of extrajudicial
executions, perpetrated by agents of the Peruvian State and persons linked
to it who acted in coordination with the counterinsurgency struggle in
their functions and aims.
After the foregoing analysis, the Commission concludes that the
facts alleged in the 19 petitions are part of the State’s systematic
practice of extrajudicial executions, consummated by members of the
Peruvian security forces and the anti-subversive rondas
civiles campesinas, or peasant civil defense patrols, linked to the
State, in practices tolerated by the State, in the context of absolute
impunity, which was reaffirmed by the Peruvian State upon issuance of the
disappearance of persons in Peru
During the period in question (1984-1993), the forced disappearance
of persons was also a widespread practice.
The 25 petitions, among others, that are under analysis, refer to
violations of the right to life of more than one victim, and in four of
those 25 petitions, concurrently, there were allegations, not only of the
summary execution of 83 victims, but also of the disappearance of 36
Peruvian citizens. Six of the
25 petitions combined refer exclusively to the forced disappearance of 32
persons, and two of the cases analyzed include four disappearances in
conjunction with summary executions, as part of a systematic pattern of
violations of the right to life, perpetrated by state agents or persons
linked to the state, and tolerated by the State, within the context noted
of “anti-subversive” military operations, and with a similar modus
1. The forced
disappearance of persons as a practice
Next, the Commission proceeds to determine the possible
participation of State agents in violations of the right to life, humane
treatment, and liberty in Peru in the form of forced disappearance of
persons during the period in question.
Through the systematic practice of forced disappearance of persons,
Peruvian state agents or persons linked to them or who acted subordinated
to them sought to repress the activities of the insurgent groups that
opposed the government and to control the population as a whole from 1984
to 1993. Forced
disappearances of persons were perpetrated by the use of procedures that
display similar and identifiable characteristics, in specific geographic
areas that were under a state of emergency and in the course of
counter-insurgency operations by the State.
In the same 1993 Report on
the Situation of Human Rights in Peru, the Commission addressed the
problem of the forced disappearance of persons and mentioned that as of
that date, the Commission had adopted 43 resolutions in relation to
individual cases with 106 victims in all.
In addition, the State officially admitted having received 5,000
complaints in cases of forced disappearance from 1983 to 1991.
For her part, the Special Human Rights Prosecutor recorded 802
complaints concerning persons disappeared in 1992, 138 in 1993, 120 in
1994, and 8 in 1995. Further,
the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
received 3,004 cases from 1983 to 1992, and 20 in 1993.
In the report, classified as UN Document E/CN.4/1998/43, of
January 12, 1998, that working group expressly stated:
The Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos of Peru,
recognized as a non-governmental organization that serves as an umbrella
group for several Peruvian human rights organizations, based on statistics
from the U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances,
concluded that from 1983 to 1992, Peru was the leading or the
second-leading country worldwide for the number of persons detained and
and it found that from 1990 to 1992, 725 persons disappeared
It also added
that in 1992, the national human rights groups received 286 complaints; of
these 178 victims are still detained and disappeared. According to the
records of the Public Ministry, the zones most affected by this practice
were Huánuco (120 victims), Junín (86 victims), Ayacucho (76 victims),
and San Martín (52 victims), and in almost 90% of the cases
responsibility was attributable to the armed forces.
The ad hoc provincial prosecutor for the department of Junín, Ms.
Imelda Tumialán, declared that in 1991 there were more than 100
disappearances in the department of Junín,
and the deputy attorney general of Peru, in a note of January
9, 1992, stated that in the first 11 months of 1991, there were 268
allegations of forced disappearance, very few of which could be clarified.
The Commission deems it pertinent to recapitulate the following
considerations on the phenomenon of forced disappearances in Peru that it
offered when it decided together, not long ago, a group of 35 cases that
involved 67 persons disappeared in different departments of Peru from 1989
to 1993. In this respect, the
Commission expressed itself in the following terms, which it now
reiterates in full:
Commission decided to combine the cases under review because it considers
that the alleged events suggest a pattern of disappearances brought about
by Peruvian State agents around the same time period (1989-1993),
within the context of what are called anti-subversive activities,
and employing the same modus
Commission therefore decided to look into the possible existence of a
practice of forced disappearances brought about by the Peruvian State, or
at least tolerated by it, during the period in question (1989-1993).
The Commission cannot ignore, to use the words of the Inter-American
Court, "the special seriousness of finding that a State Party to the
Convention has carried out or has tolerated a practice of disappearances
in its territory." Nonetheless, it is crucial that the Commission, in
accordance with the functions assigned to it, carry out that analysis, not
only for the purposes of this report, but also to arrive at the truth
regarding a policy of human rights violations, with all its possible
repercussions for the clarification of other cases that have come to the
attention of this Commission.
this regard, it should be pointed out that the criteria used to evaluate
evidence in an international court of human rights have special standards,
which empower the Commission to weigh the evidence freely and to determine
the amount of proof necessary to support the judgment.
modus operandi used, according
to the petitions received by the Commission, in the arrests and
disappearances in the cases in question, involving Messrs. ... shows an
overall pattern of behavior that can be considered admissible evidence of
a systematic practice of disappearances.
Commission has received a very large number of complaints of
disappearances in Peru, many of which pertain to multiple disappeared
persons. In its 1993 Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Peru, the
Commission discussed the problem of the forced disappearance of persons in
that country and indicated that it had already passed 43 resolutions
regarding individual cases involving 106 victims. Subsequently, the
Commission has continued to write reports on the matter. Moreover, the
Peruvian State itself has officially recognized the existence of forced
disappearances and has reported on 5,000 complaints of disappearances
between 1983 and 1991. The large number of complaints of this type is a
clear indication, in the Commission’s view, that disappearances in Peru
followed an official pattern devised and carried out in a systematic
indication is supported by the fact that, at the United Nations (UN), the
Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, established by
the Commission on Human Rights in 1980, had received 3,004 cases of forced
disappearances in Peru. That Group points out that:
vast majority of the 3,004 cases of reported disappearances in Peru
occurred between 1983 and 1992, in the context of the Government's fight
against terrorist organizations, especially the "Shining Path" (Sendero
Luminoso). In late 1982, the armed forces and police undertook a
counter-insurgency campaign and the armed forces were granted a
great deal of latitude in fighting Shining Path and in restoring public
order. While the majority of reported disappearances took place in areas
of the country which had been under a state of emergency and were under
military control, in particular in the regions of Ayacucho, Huancavelica,
San Martín, and Apurímac, disappearances also took place in other parts
of Peru. Detentions were reportedly frequently carried out openly by
uniformed members of the armed forces, sometimes together with Civil
Defense Groups. Some 20 other cases reportedly occurred in 1993 in the
Department of Ucayali and concerned largely the disappearance of peasants.
[Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, UN
Document E/CN.4/1998/43, January 12, 1998, para. 297) .]
Imelda Tumialán, the ad hoc Provincial Prosecutor for the Department of
Junín, has placed on record that in 1991 there were more than 100
disappearances in that Department. Likewise, in a note dated January 9,
1992, Peru's Assistant Attorney General pointed out that in the first 11
months of 1991 there had been 268 complaints of disappearances, and that
only a few cases had been solved. For its part, the National Coordinating
Body for Human Rights in Peru, a recognized non-governmental umbrella
group of various Peruvian human rights organizations, estimates that 725
persons disappeared in Peru between 1990 and 1992. The Commission has been
told that reports circulating freely in Peru indicated that military
personnel, and in some cases police officers, were carrying out
disappearances. The Commission has received numerous articles and news
reports on such disappearances, published by the print media and others.
the basis of the foregoing evidence, the Commission concludes that in the
1989-1993 period there existed in Peru a systematic and selective
practice of forced disappearances, carried out by agents of, or at least
tolerated by, the Peruvian State. That official practice of forced
disappearances was part of the "fight against subversion",
although in many cases it harmed people who had nothing to do with the
activities related to dissident groups.
of the disappearances
the basis of the various items of evidence mentioned above, the Commission
sees fit to map out the steps usually involved in the above-mentioned
official policy of disappearances:
of the victims
often the abduction and disappearance of a person began with information
obtained by members of the intelligence service, according to which that
person was in some way linked to subversive groups, chiefly the Shining
Path or the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). It should be
pointed out that in many instances the persons concerned were in no way
involved with those subversive groups, but were unfortunate enough to have
been included, fraudulently or by mistake, on the lists that would later
lead to their disappearance.
factor that, in certain Departments and under particular circumstances,
could lead to the detention and later disappearance of many people was the
fact that they were not carrying their voter registration documents, which
were used for identification purposes. In certain cases, during checkpoint
operations on public thoroughfares, a person unable to produce an
identification document upon request was almost automatically considered a
a person was considered "suspect", he or she was arrested; on
numerous occasions, this was the first step toward disappearance. Some
arrests were carried out openly in public, others at the victim's home,
usually in the early hours of the morning and in the presence of
witnesses. Those charged with carrying out the detentions were heavily
armed soldiers or police, sometimes dressed in civilian clothing, but most
often in uniform.
the soldiers or police paid little attention to the witnesses and
proceeded to do what they came to do anyway. Arrests in people's homes
were usually carried out in front of whoever happened to be there: wives,
children, fathers, mothers, etc. Thus the normal pattern was for the
personnel to arrest the victim regardless of who might be present, with no
attempt to hide the official nature of what they were doing.
denial of the detentions
same day of the arrest, or in the days immediately following, relatives
would go to the place where the victim was detained and be told that he or
she was not being held. It should be stressed that since the arrests were
usually carried out publicly, the relatives knew where the victim had
first been detained. Nevertheless, the authorities denied the detention.
As the Commission has established previously:
fact that the military authorities deny having carried out the detention
thus merely confirms the clandestine nature of the military operations.
Detention is neither registered nor officially admitted, in order to make
it possible to employ torture during interrogation and if need be to apply
extrajudicial punishment to persons considered to be sympathizers,
collaborators, or members of the rebel groups.
variation on this practice consisted of the authorities alleging that the
victim had been released and even producing documents to show this,
sometimes with a forgery of the victim’s signature, others with his or
her real signature obtained under torture, when in fact the release had
never taken place.
and extrajudicial execution of detainees
the victim did not die as a result of the torture inflicted, he or she was
generally executed in summary, extrajudicial fashion. The bodies were then
hidden by burial in secret places chosen to make their discovery
for those responsible for the disappearances
general, cases of disappearance in Peru were not seriously investigated.
In practice, those responsible enjoyed almost total impunity, since they
were carrying out an official State plan. Despite that, the authorities
decided to go even further by passing Act Nº 26.479 (the "Amnesty
Act") in 1995. Article 1 of that Law grants a blanket amnesty to all
members of the security forces and civilian personnel accused,
investigated, indicted, prosecuted, or convicted for human rights
violations committed between May 1980 and June 1995. That law was later
strengthened by Act Nº 26.492, which prohibited the judiciary from ruling
on the legality or applicability of the Amnesty Law. In its annual reports
for 1996 and 1997, the Commission has addressed the issue of those amnesty
laws in the overall analysis of the human rights situation in Peru.
the Commission has been told that both laws can be rendered inapplicable
by Peruvian judges, through what is known as their "broad
powers" to rule on the constitutionality of laws--provided
for in Article 138 of the Peruvian Constitution--the
Commission considers the aforesaid laws an invalid attempt to legalize the
impunity that existed in practice with regard to forced disappearances and
other serious offenses committed by agents of the State. For example, the
Commission has learned that the judges of the Constitutional Court, who
were removed by the Congress, invoked that same Article 138 of the
Constitution in their December 27, 1996, finding that Act Nº 26.657 did
not apply to President Alberto Fujimori.
relating to forced disappearances
General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) has called
the practice of the forced or involuntary disappearance of persons a crime
against humanity that strikes against the fundamental rights of the human
individual, such as personal liberty and well-being, the right to
proper judicial protection and due process, and even the right to life. In
that context, the member states of the Organization of American States
(OAS) adopted, in 1994, an Inter-American Convention on the Forced
Disappearance of Persons as a means of preventing and punishing the forced
disappearance of persons in our Hemisphere.
Commission has affirmed, in relation to the forced disappearance of
procedure is cruel and inhuman. ... [It] not only constitutes an arbitrary
deprivation of freedom but also a serious danger to the personal integrity
and safety and to even the very life of the victim. It leaves the victim
totally defenseless, violating the rights to a fair trial, to protection
against arbitrary arrest, and to due process.
doubly paralyzing form of suffering: for the victims, frequently tortured
and in constant fear for their lives, and for their family members,
ignorant of the fate of their loved ones, their emotions alternating
between hope and despair, wondering and waiting, sometimes for years, for
news that may never come. The victims are well aware that their families
do not know what has become of them and that the chances are slim that
anyone will come to their aid. Having been removed from the protective
precinct of the law and "disappeared" from society, they are in
fact deprived of all their rights and are at the mercy of their captors.
If death is not the final outcome and they are eventually released from
the nightmare, the victims may suffer for a long time from the physical
and psychological consequences of this form of dehumanization and from the
brutality and torture which often accompany it.
family and friends of disappeared persons experience slow mental torture,
not knowing whether the victim is still alive and, if so, where he or she
is being held, under what conditions, and in what state of health. Aware,
furthermore, that they too are threatened; that they may suffer the same
fate themselves, and that to search for the truth may expose them to even
family's distress is frequently compounded by the material consequences
resulting from the disappearance. The missing person is often the mainstay
of the family’s finances. He or she may be the only member of the family
able to cultivate the crops or run the family business. The emotional
upheaval is thus exacerbated by material deprivation, made more acute by
the costs incurred should they decide to undertake a search. Furthermore,
they do not know when--if ever--their loved one is
going to return, which makes it difficult for them to adapt to the new
situation. In some cases, national legislation may make it impossible to
receive pensions or other means of support in the absence of a certificate
of death. Economic and social marginalization is frequently the result.
The documents that support the foregoing historical account and the
facts analyzed in each of the cases in this report lead the Commission to
reiterate that from 1984 to 1993, there was a systematic practice of
extrajudicial executions and forced disappearance of persons in Peru,
carried out by agents of the Peruvian State and tolerated by the Peruvian
authorities. This official practice was part of the counter-insurgency
military operations that affected persons including students, teachers,
trade union leaders, and opposition political party leaders, and peasants,
who in most cases had no relationship with the dissident groups.
1. Weighing the
With a view to determining whether the facts in the cases in
question are part of the State policy of violating human rights, which
included and tolerated summary executions and the forced disappearance of
persons, and, therefore, to show the real occurrence of that practice, it
is important that the Commission point out the criteria that govern the
weighing of evidence, and also the burden of proof issues.
In principle, the Commission will apply the legal principle
provided for in Article 42 of its Regulations, which states:
facts reported in the petition whose pertinent parts have been transmitted
to the government of the State in reference shall be presumed to be true
if, during the maximum period set by the Commission under the provisions
of Article 34 paragraph 5, the government has not provided the pertinent
information, as long as other evidence does not lead to a different
Second, as neither the Convention nor the Commission’s
Regulations regulate in detail aspects relating to the criteria for
weighing evidence, the Commission, following the international case-law
and its own practice, shall apply the system of free weighing of the
evidence, which gives it a measure of flexibility as regards determining
the amount of evidence needed to support the judgment.
In addition to direct testimonial, expert, and documentary
evidence, one must consider the words of the Inter-American Court when it
stated that “[c]ircumstantial evidence, indicia, and presumptions may be
in particular when a governmental practice of human rights
violations has been shown.
As regards the burden of proof, based on the general principle
according to which in proceedings over human rights violations, when there
are sufficient indicia to determine that the detention or systematic
practice of the human rights violation is carried out by state agents, the
Commission presumes that the victims were executed or disappeared by acts
of Peruvian state agents.
Then, as it is the State that controls the means of evidence
for clarifying the facts that occurred in its territory, it has the
obligation to present them, which is why its defense cannot be based on
omission by the petitioner, who also requires the State’s cooperation in
order to marshal the necessary evidence.
The Commission has stated, of the burden of proof, that it
with the State, because when the State holds a person in detention and
under its exclusive control, the State becomes the guarantor of that
person's safety and rights. In addition, the State has exclusive control
over information or evidence regarding the fate of the detained person.
This is particularly true in a disappearance case where, by definition,
the family members of the victim or other
interested persons are unable to learn about the fate of the
This brief synthesis of the international criteria that govern the
weighing of evidence and the shifting of the burden of proof in cases of
human rights violations, in the case of systematic practices of summary
executions or detentions, whose final result is the summary execution and
forced disappearance of persons, illustrates the effects of shifting the
burden of proof and the active, elusive, or omissive conduct of the
Peruvian State in the cases under study.
Facts presented and their relationship to the practice of
extrajudicial executions and the forced disappearance of persons
As was noted, from 1984 to 1993 hundreds of persons were summarily
executed or disappeared in Peru. The
cases reported reflect a systematic practice by State agents, with similar
operational patterns. That modus
operandi was common in the consummation of violations of the right to
life: some executions and disappearances were consummated
indiscriminately, without taking account of sex or age, and family groups
were affected. These
arbitrary executions and disappearances were also selective: the victim or
group was identified and chosen for their political affiliation, activity,
or occupation, or presumed or real link with members of the dissident
Peruvian groups Shining Path or Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru,
and the victims were executed or detained, later to be executed or
disappeared, even though witnesses were present, using, in most cases,
firearms, and in which no person or judicial authority did anything to
impede these incidents. Most
of the investigations ended without results, and in those in which members
of the armed forces of Peru were identified as perpetrators, they were
benefitted by the Amnesty laws or judgments ceasing the proceedings.
In the 25 cases under study, the petitioners have presented lists
of 120 victims, including men, women, and children, 84 of whom died
violently, and 36 of whom continue disappeared.
Due to the lack of more active participation by the Peruvian State,
and by virtue of the principle that silence on the part of the respondent,
or respondent’s elusive or ambiguous response, can be interpreted as
acceptance of the facts stated in the complaint, or of its omission, on
not providing any evidence to show that the state agents were not
responsible for the extrajudicial executions, detentions, and cases of
torture, in those cases in which they occur concurrently, the Commission
concludes that human rights violations were perpetrated by the State,
through its agents, in cases 10.247, 10.431, 10.472, 10.523, 10.564,
10.805, 10.878, 10.913, 10.947, 10.994, 11.035, 11.051, 11.057, 11.065,
11.088, 11.161, 11.292, 11.680, 11.126, 11.132, 11.064, and 11.200, or by
persons linked to the State in cases 10.744, 11.040, and 11.179.
According to the facts alleged and proven in the cases that are the
subject of this report, the circumstantial evidence and the circumstances
of manner, time, and place in which the facts were perpetrated evidence a
common pattern in the modus operandi
deployed by the members of the Peruvian Army and persons linked to it, in
each of the four basic practices used at that time, in violation of the
right to life, whose joint analysis offers circumstantial evidence of
intent. Those four patterns of conduct corresponded to use of so-called
“law of flight” (“ley de fuga”), i.e. claiming persons are killed while trying to
flee, the modus operandi
deployed in the urban and rural areas by members of the security forces of
the Peruvian State, and the forced disappearance of persons perpetrated by
the anti-subversive civil defense committees.
In this context, in the Commission’s view, in four cases, numbers
10.913, 10.994, 11.065, and 11.680, the first involving summary execution
and the last three involving arbitrary detention, torture, and
extrajudicial executions, the crimes were perpetrated in keeping with one
of the three basic practices that prevailed at the time, killing persons
allegedly when they are trying to escape.
In these four cases, all the victims resided in rural areas, and in
areas under state of emergency, where counter-insurgency military
operations were being deployed; in addition, each of them had previously
been linked in one way or another with belligerent groups.
In terms of the modality used in the detention, only in case 10.913
were the four victims detained in flagrante delicto, given the confusing
circumstances in which the detention occurred,
i.e. after a confrontation between community members and four
belligerents, who the community members were accompanying against their
will. In case 11.860,
the patrol captured the victim at a check-point, and in two
the Army patrol captured the victims in their respective
homes, and then took them to the military units, where they subjected them
to torture and finally executed them, shooting them from behind. Without
exception, all the victims had previously been brought under the control
and were under the custody of the authorities, defenseless and unarmed;
many had been tortured, and all received gunshot wounds, fired with
precision, generally from behind, and concentrated in vital parts.
In the first three cases, the soldiers explained that the detainees
tried to escape, and in the last, that he had died in combat when showing
the patrol the places where they hid their weapons. Nonetheless, the
corpse of Ricardo Salazar Ruiz had three gunshot wounds in the back and
one in each leg, allowing one to infer, without much effort, an arbitrary
The second pattern of conduct in the modus
operandi used by the State agents or persons linked to it, in the
systematic practice of summary executions (10.878, 10.947, 10.994, 11.035,
11.051, 11.057, 11.065, 11.088, 11.161, and 11.680), the forced
disappearance of persons (10.564, 11.126, 11.132), and in the cases in
which these two forms of violation of the right to life concurred
simultaneously (10.431, 10.523, 11.064, and 11.200) is that they all
occurred in the rural areas of Peru under strict control of the Peruvian
security forces. In these cases, it was found that there were arbitrary
detentions, torture, and extrajudicial executions or the forced
disappearance of persons.
193. First, the executions, and, in those cases where it occurred, the forced disappearances, followed a similar practice. They were perpetrated systematically, selecting the victims based on their political activities, including students, teachers, trade union leaders, and, based on their criminal records, persons previously detained on charges of terrorism, and in areas where there had been combat or attacks by terrorist groups, as well as retaliatory acts.
10.913, 10.947, 10.994, 11.051, 11.057, 11.064, 11.065, 11.088, 11.200,
10.247, 10.472, and 11.292.
11.040, and 11.132.
10.744, 10.805, 11.035, 11.161, and 11.179.
analyzed the issue of the systematic practice of forced disappearances
in Peru in Reports Nos. 11/99 and 55/99, on cases 10.815, 10.905,
10.981, 10.995, 11.042, and 11.136.
According to the
1995 Informe sobre la situación
de los Derechos Humanos en el Perú, by the Coordinadora Nacional
de Derechos Humanos, in late 1995 “there were 46 provinces of 11
departments under a state of emergency: Apurímac (4), Ayacucho (4),
Cusco (4), Huancavelica (3), Huánuco (4), Junín (3), Lima (3), Loreto
(2), Pasco (1), San Martín (its 10 provinces), Ucayali (2), and the
Constitutional Province of Callao,” all areas in which the civilian
authorities had been subordinated to the political-military commands.
doc. 31 (1993).
Cited in IACHR,
Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Peru, 1993, para. 27.
Cited in IACHR,
Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Peru, 1993, paras. 31 ff.
at para. 43.
E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/51, p. 4.
analyzed the question of the systematic practice of forced disappearance
of persons in Peru in reports 11/99 and 55/99, on cases 10.815, 10.905,
10.981, 10.995, 11.042, and 11.136. Annual Report IACHR, 1999.
Directive on Human Rights, September 9, 1991. Cited in IACHR, Report on
the Situation of Human Rights in Peru, 1993, para. 17.
Nacional sobre Derechos Humanos, Informe
sobre la Situación de los Derechos Humanos en el Perú, 1995.
Informe sobre la
Situación de los Derechos Humanos en el Perú en 1992.
Nacional sobre Derechos Humanos, Informe
sobre la Situación de los Derechos Humanos en el Perú en 1992, p.
Defensa Legal: “Perú Hoy, en el Oscuro Sendero de la Guerra,”
1991, p. 150.
IACHR, Report Nº
51/99, Cases 10,471 and others (Peru), Annual Report 1998, paragraphs 68
to 95. See along the same
lines IACHR, Reports Nos. 52/99, 53/99, 54/99, 55/99, 56/99, and 57/99
(Peru), Annual Report 1998.
Court of Human Rights, Case of Velásquez Rodríguez, para. 127.
Court of Human Rights, Case of Velásquez Rodríguez, Merits, supra,
paras. 127-30; Case of Godínez Cruz, Merits, Judgment of January 20,
1989, Ser. C Nº 5, paras. 133-36; Case of Fairén Garbi and Solís
Corrales, Merits, Judgment of March 15, 1989, Ser. C Nº 6, paras.
130-33; Case of Gangaram Panday, Merits, Judgment of January 21, 1994,
Court of Human Rights, Velásquez
Rodríguez, paras. 124 ff.
IACHR, Report Nº
3/98, Case 11.221 (Colombia), Annual Report 1997, para. 62.
Choquehuanca, Francisco Atamari Mamani, Feliciano Turpo Valeriano, and
Roberto Quispe Mamani.
Castillo (10.994) and Ricardo Salazar Ruiz (11.065).