The decision of the Peruvian Constitutional Court (TC) to restore the pardon to former president Alberto Fujimori has not only reopened a wound in society, but has also generated numerous questions in the country, which is now questioning whether the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CorteIDH ) will be able to reverse the measure and what will happen to other processes open to the former president.
Since he burst into politics in 1990, Fujimori has kept Peru fractured between those who extol his figure, considering that he saved the country from terrorism and economic collapse, and those who emphasize that he was an autocrat who committed serious human rights violations and abused democratic institutions to retain their power.
That polarization intensified this week after the TC accepted the habeas corpus that requested annulment of the judicial ruling that revoked the humanitarian pardon granted, with alleged political overtones, to Fujimori in 2017 by then President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.RELATED
With this latest legal setback, which set off the alarms of global organizations, the former president will be released after serving 15 of the 25-year sentence imposed on him for the murder of 25 people in the massacres of Barrios Altos (1991) and La Cantuta (1992), committed by the undercover military group Colina.
1. When will the prisoner come out of his golden cage?
It is not known, although the lawyers close to the case estimate that Fujimori could leave Barbadillo next week, the prison located in the Lima neighborhood of Ate and built specifically for him, with a three-room cell where he receives numerous weekly visits and has medical assistance throughout the day.
First, the magistrates of the TC must draft the sentence and sign it. Until this happens, none of the other administrative machinery will be put into operation, the executive secretary of the National Human Rights Coordinator (CNDDHH), Jennie Dador, assured Efe.
“There is no deadline for this, but considering that it is in their own hands and that it has been a political decision, I think they will not take long,” the lawyer estimated.
On the other hand, Fujimori’s lawyer, Cesar Nakazaki, was more optimistic and calculated that his release could take place between Monday and next Tuesday.
The lawyer explained that the high court must first formalize its resolution to the supreme criminal execution judge, who must abide by the decision and then give the release order to the National Penitentiary Institute (INPE).
2. What role does the Corteidh play?
For the organizations that defend the relatives of the victims of the La Cantuta and Barrios Altos cases, the most “direct and safe” way to avoid Fujimori’s impunity is called the IDH Court, which in 2018 already demanded that the Peruvian Justice review the presidential pardon granted by Kuczynski.
Even before knowing the decision of the TC, the entities requested a package of provisional measures to this autonomous judicial body of the Organization of American States (OAS).
“We hope that the court will issue the measures or that it will grant us the hearing that we have requested so that the Peruvian State responds,” the legal head of the Association for Human Rights (Aprodeh), Gloria Cano, told Efe, adding that this organization ” it has its times”, but since these are “urgent” measures, they can dictate them in the shortest possible time.
The Government of President Pedro Castillo also said on Thursday through the Vice Minister of Justice, Juan Carrasco, that it will appeal to the Inter-American Court to reverse the resolution.
But for Dador, this announcement is “very strange” because, to go to this instance, the Government would have to denounce itself, since the responsible entity in court is the Peruvian State.
3. Are there other ways to reverse the pardon?
Yes, but they are more convoluted. On the one hand, one of the judges could resist complying with the ruling, making a conventional control of himself and applying an international pact, but this “is not usually a common practice” in Peru, said the secretary of the CNDDHH.
On the other hand, Castillo could repeal it, as requested by some anti-Fujimorist parties, such as the liberal Purple Party and the ruling Peru Libre, under the pretext that the pardon is granted through a supreme resolution, which is issued from the head of the Executive.
However, this measure would be legally debatable and “not very clean”, especially considering the polarization generated by this case, Dador warned.
4. What will happen to the processes you still have open?
The decision of the TC annuls the execution of the sentence imposed on Fujimori for the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta cases, but it does not exempt him from having been found guilty and, in principle, from being held accountable for two other trials that he has open.
These are the famous case of forced sterilizations, which is pending the expansion of extradition from Chile, and the Pativilca case, in which the application of the presidential grace has already been rejected.
“Legally, the pardon does not prevent the rest of the cases from following their natural course, but in practice if he is released without any restriction the next day he can take a plane and leave” the country, Dador warned.
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