Fujimori Urged to Rectify Abuses of Faceless Courts

Human Rights Watch: Americas

25 July 1996

In a letter issued as President Alberto Fujimori prepares to begin the second year of his second term in office, Human Rights Watch/Americas urges the Peruvian president to end the use of faceless courts which have violated fundamental principles of due process; to establish an independent commission to resolve the cases of those unjustly detained under the faceless court system; and to compensate those who have suffered arbitrary imprisonment.

The letter, signed by Executive Director Jose Miguel Vivanco, praises the government's progress in drastically reducing the incidence of disappearances and extrajudicial executions by the authorities. At the same time, Dr. Vivanco denounces the terrorist activities of armed insurgents in Peru who "continue to act with calculated cruelty, intended to terrify into submission the civilian population."

Despite the menace of terrorist violence in Peru, the human rights group stresses, the government is not justified in resorting to measures, such as the use of faceless courts, which curtail basic due process rights. These measures are ultimately self-defeating, as they inevitably punish the innocent along with the guilty.