Peru Attorney General scrutinizes constitutionality of “amnesty” decree

Attorney General Pablo Sanchez has requested a review of decree No. 1097 to determine the constitutionality of the  the executive order — described by critics as a defacto amnesty for Peruvian military men accused of human rights violations, daily El Comercio reported.

Sánchez said the decree could affect constitutional and international regulations. The decree “provides personal and preferential treatment and is also unequal for those tried for the same crimes, but that don’t have the status of military or police, altering substantially the regulations of existing procedures,” Sanchez said.

Decree No. 1097 is one of four legislative decrees enacted by Peru’s Executive recently which have raised serious concern among human rights organizations.

No. 1097 decrees that criminal charges of human rights violations can only be applied to crimes as of November 2003. This effectively eliminates ongoing and new cases on human rights violations committed between 1980 and 2000, and could open the door to release several high-profile prisoners, including Alberto Fujimori.

While human rights organizations in Peru have expressed their concern over the decree, it has also attracted the attention of international bodies.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed their concern over the decree, saying that it “implies serious obstacles for the trial of cases that involve crimes against humanity, war crimes and grave violations of human rights.”

“The lack of investigation and sanctioning of cases of grave violations for human rights is not compatible with the American Convention on Human Rights, which Peru is a signatory,” the Costa Rica-based organization said.

“Impunity with respect to cases of crimes against humanity brings about the repetition of activities against democracy and human rights.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights, Martin Shceinin, said the decree represents “a climate of impunity.”

“I believe it is one of the tendencies in Peruvian society and in certain circles of the Peruvian authorities,” according to Scheinin, a professor of international law at the European University Institute in Italy.

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