GENEVA (9 October 2018) - UN experts have welcomed the decision by a Tribunal of the Supreme Court in Peru to overturn the pardon of former president Alberto Fujimori, saying it had restored justice to the victims and their families who suffered under his leadership.
The request for the annulment of the pardon had been presented by the families of the victims of the Barrios Altos massacres in 1991 and La Cantuta in 1992, two of the cases for which Mr. Fujimori was convicted.
"The Court's decision restores the right to justice of victims and their families, who have been fighting for 25 years to ensure that the abhorrent crimes they have suffered do not go unpunished, and that those responsible are duly and effectively punished,” the experts said.
On 3 October the Supreme Preparatory Investigation Tribunal of the Supreme Court of Peru ruled that a pardon granted last December to Mr. Fujimori had no legal effects and ordered the search and capture of the former Peruvian president to return him to prison.
Mr. Fujimori had been serving a 25-year prison sentence for committing crimes against humanity under international law, including extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances and kidnappings. His conviction, following a judicial process that met national and international fair trial standards, was considered an important achievement in the fight against impunity.
However, last December, in the context of a marked political crisis, the president of Peru at the time, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, granted a humanitarian pardon to Mr. Fujimori, triggering street protests and a violent reaction by state security forces against peaceful demonstrations.
“The decision of the Supreme Court's Tribunal meets international human rights standards which restrict the use of pardons in cases of crimes against humanity, and represents a renewed step forward in the fight against impunity for serious violations that occurred in the country more than two decades ago,” the experts said.
They said Mr. Fujimori's pardon also constituted a violation of Peruvian domestic law, which strictly prohibits the granting of pardons to those convicted of kidnapping.
There are concrete requirements for the granting of pardons for humanitarian reasons which must be carefully observed in order to avoid arbitrariness, the experts said. “Imminent terminal illnesses can give rise to pardons; however, such benefits cannot be granted owing to the mere passing of time, the age of the person, or the general physical or mental state resulting from age,” they said. “In such cases, States must guarantee the right to health through medical services provided in prisons, or transfers to specialised medical centres.”
They recalled that the Commission of Presidential Pardons of Peru had already rejected requests in favour of Mr. Fujimori because it considered that his state of health did not meet the requirements of the Commission for the granting of presidential pardons for humanitarian reasons.
The UN experts: Mr. Fabián Salvioli, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition; The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Ms. Agnès Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and Mr. Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
See the previous press release issued by the experts on this issue.
For more information and media requests please contact:
Ms. Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 9635 / email@example.com )
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Jeremy Laurence – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: www.standup4humanrights.org.