Peruvian Executive approves citizen arrest clause

Peru’s Executive approved a bill on Wednesday that will implement a Citizen’s Arrest clause found in Article 260 of the Code of Criminal Procedures. The clause will allow citizens to detain and turn over to police anyone found committing a crime in public. The bill could be implemented by April 1 after it is sent to Congress, according to Agencia Andina.

The announcement follows a violent two-day national farmer strike which left four people dead last week and a two-day strike in Cusco, which left thousands of tourists stranded as protesters blocked the streets and authorities closed the airport to prevent property damage and protect tourists.

Justice Minister Rosario Fernández reportedly said the Executives decision to implement the Citizen’s Arrest clause is not motivated by the latest protests but rather to promote active citizen participation in protecting public safety.

“In these moments everyone is affected by the disorder that is in some parts of the country and is trying to disturb tranquility and social peace, which is a right of all citizens,” said Fernández. She added that it is not a new clause and is already being implemented in parts of the country, including the northern La Libertad Department.

However, Criminal Lawyer Julio Espinoza told daily Gestión the government’s plan to implement the clause nationwide opens the door for abuse. He also questioned the police’s ability to deal with a possible influx of arrests.

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