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CONTACT: Center for Justice & Accountability
In New York: Riptide Communications, Inc.
Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori Convicted of Human Rights Violations
San Francisco Human Rights Organization Call Verdict Victory for Rule of Law Over Rule of Men
WASHINGTON - April 7 - The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), a San Francisco-based human rights organization, praised today's guilty verdict against former Peruvian president, Alberto Fujimori, as a victory in the struggle to bring human rights abusers to justice. Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years. The historic verdict marks the first time that an elected head of state has been convicted of human rights violations by a national court in his own country.
In a 711-page decision, the three- judge panel found Fujimori guilty for his role supervising the murder, kidnapping, and torture of civilians by a death squad waging a counterinsurgency campaign in the early 1990s.
CJA Executive Director Pamela Merchant said, "The Supreme Court of Peru's conviction of former President Alberto Fujimori is an extraordinary example of the rule of law prevailing over the rule of men. Peru, a young and fragile democracy recovering from years of violence, sets an important example for all nations: a real democracy is only possible where no one is above the law and the victims can achieve justice. We applaud today's ruling and the hope it brings to thousands of victims and their representatives working to seek justice."
CJA worked closely with Peruvian NGOs representing the victims, including APRODEH, the Pro-Human Rights Association. On August 2008, CJA's international attorney, Almudena Bernabeu, traveled to Lima to prepare two expert witnesses who testified for the prosecution. Jose Antonio Martin Pallin, an emeritus justice of the Spanish Supreme court, testified on state terrorism and state crimes, and Kate Doyle, from the National Security Archives, testified on declassified U.S. documents that provided information on human rights abuses carried out under the Fujimori government. In addition, CJA has briefed numerous legal issues for the prosecution including procedural rules on the admissibility of declassified documents in Spanish and U.S. law.
CJA's partnership with the team grew out of its work holding Peruvian human rights abusers who had retired to the U.S. responsible for their roles in a major massacre. CJA has brought two civil lawsuits in the U.S. against former members of the Peruvian military who have sought safe haven here. Both were charged for their role in the Accomarca Massacre where 69 civilians were tortured and killed.
CJA is a San Francisco-based human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress. CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse.
More information on CJA's Peru cases can be viewed on the CJA website at www.cja.org.