Retired military major begins civil trial in U.S. for Peru massacre

A retired Peruvian major has begun a civil trial in the United States for his alleged role in the 1985 massacre of 72 peasants in a remote Andean village during Peru’s internal conflict with leftist guerrillas. Major Telmo Hurtado is facing a lawsuit brought against him by the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability, CAJ, in a U.S. Federal Court in Miami.

Hurtado is accused of carrying out the killings under the orders of General Wilfredo Mori Orzo. The massacre occured on Aug. 14, 1985 in the village of Accomarca, located 240 miles southeast of Lima in Ayacucho Department, daily La República reported.

All the victims were children, village elders and Indian women, who were raped before being killed. The young men had fled the village, which the military suspected of cooperating with the Shining Path insurgency during their campaign to overthrow the government and install a communist state.

CJA is representing Teófila Ochoa and Cirila Pulido, who were both 12 years old when the military executed their mothers and siblings in Accomarca. They escaped by hiding.

The CJA lawyer representing the victims, Almudena Bernabeu, told Radio San Borja there are two kinds of allegations against Hurtado. “The first deals with his criminal responsibility and the other with civil compensation” she said. “We can only establish the civil compensation part right now, which is what we will begin the trial with today.”

According to La República, Ochoa and Pulido will testify at the trial along with former lawmaker Javier Diez Canseco and human rights specialist Eduardo González. Diez Canseco will reportedly testify that the massacre was part of the military’s anti-insurgency strategy that repeatedly violated human rights.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *