Prosecutor in Fujimori trial appointed as next attorney general

State attorney Jose Antonio Pelaez has been selected to succeed Peru’s Attorney General Gladyz Echaiz, state news agency Andina reported.

Pelaez, 64, will assume the role of attorney general on May 12 for the period of 2011-14.

Pelaez joined the state prosecutor’s office in 1981, although he left for a period during the administration of jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori

His best known case was that of Fujimori. Pelaez was in charge of leading the team of attorneys that led successfully to Fujimori’s 25-year-prison sentence for human rights abuses and corruption, a court process recognized  internationally as impartial and impeccable. The judge who headed the court, Cesar San Martin, was elected president of the Supreme Court at the beginning of this year.

Pelaez said on Thursday that he would ensure transparency and independence. “As attorneys we are independent and I have always shown transparency and independence,” he said.

Pelaez takes on the job as attorney general while Peru is undergoing a presidential election between leftist Ollanta Humala and right-wing Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of Alberto Fujimori.

Critics of Congresswoman Fujimori suspect that she will pardon her father if elected. The lawmaker had said she would do so towards the beginning of her campaign, but has recently backed down from those comments and said she would not grant a pardon.

Meanwhile, opponents of Humala point to his proposal to change the constitution, which could have implications on the independence of the judicial branch.

“In a state of law, you have to loyally follow the procedures that should be adopted to change the constitution,” Pelaez said. “Those are decisions that have to be taken by the executive or the legislature, but the procedures must be followed.”

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