News from Lori's Parents

17 July 2002

In this update:

Text of the ruling of the Inter-American Commission

Although the ruling of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was sent to Perú confidentially, and according to Article 50.2 of the American Convention on Human Rights it was not to be publicized, the Peruvian newspaper Correo was able to "obtain" a copy of the Commission's conclusions and recommendations and printed them on page 10 of the July 16 edition. The translation from Spanish is:

CONCLUSIONS -- The commission concludes that the Peruvian State is responsible for the violation of the right to judicial guarantees, of personal integrity, and of the right concerning the principle of legality to the detriment of Berenson, having judged her in the military court, submitting her to inhumane and degrading conditions of detention, starting a new trial conforming to Legal Decree 25475 (antiterrorist law), and permitting the evidence collected during the first [military] process with a value of proof in said [second] trial.

RECOMMENDATIONS -- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights suggests the adoption of necessary measures to make amends for, in an integral manner, the violations of Berenson's human rights, as well as to reform the legal decrees 25475 and 25659 (antiterrorist laws).

Clearly the Inter-American Commission has confirmed what we have been saying all along. Lori has been wrongfully held almost seven years. She never had a trial that respected her rights or met international standards of fairness and due process. She was charged under the antiterrorist laws that the Inter-American Commission has said are unacceptable in the past and again in its current ruling. And she has been incarcerated under conditions that are inhumane and degrading (and we would add cruel). The only acceptable way "to make amends for" these egregious violations would include release. In addition, the recommendation to reform the antiterrorist laws, as international and Peruvian human rights groups have urged for many years, is telling Perú to demonstrate a commitment to improving human rights for all its people.

Perú sues Inter-American Commission

On July 16, Peruvian Justice Minister Fernando Olivera announced that next week Perú will file a lawsuit before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights against the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Although this is permitted, it is unprecedented - and a step backward for human rights in Perú. Normally the Inter-American Commission would file the lawsuit against the particular government that refuses to comply with its recommendations. This mean-spirited and frivolous action confirms Perú's lack of willingness to conform to international human rights standards.

Clarification on the role of the Inter-American Court

If Lori's case moves to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights she will NOT be on trial there. The proceedings will be concerned solely with the ruling of the Inter-American Commission and Perú's response to it. The verdict of the Inter-American Court will confirm or change the ruling of the Inter-American Commission regarding the violations of Lori's rights. This will not be a trial to determine guilt or innocence.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson