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UN human rights experts appalled by Fujimori pardon

GENEVA (28 December 2017) – The pardon granted to the former President of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, is an appalling “slap in the face” to victims of human rights abuses, a group of United Nations human rights experts* have said.

“The presidential pardon granted to Alberto Fujimori on politically motivated grounds undermines the work of the Peruvian judiciary and the international community to achieve justice,” the experts said.

“We are appalled by this decision. It is a slap in the face for the victims and witnesses whose tireless commitment brought him to justice.

“It is also a major setback for the rule of law in Peru: a humanitarian pardon has been granted to someone convicted of serious crimes after a fair trial, whose guilt is not in question and who does not meet the legal requirements for a pardon.”

The experts stressed that the president’s constitutional right to pardon people could not be seen in isolation from the international conventions ratified by Peru. Cases that involves humanitarian releases require a rigorous, credible and transparent process that is compatible with international human rights standards.

“International human rights law restricts the granting of amnesties, pardons or other exclusions of responsibility in cases of serious human rights violations including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances,” they said, noting that a request of habeas corpus on Mr Fujimori’s health condition was already rejected by the judiciary.”

“The Government should not give in to political pressure and ignore its domestic and international obligations.

“Mr. Fujimori must be treated like any other person convicted of serious human rights crimes. His treatment should be compatible with his state of health and in accordance with the established standards and procedures which apply to people deprived of liberty in Peru, added the experts, who have previously engaged with the Government of Peru on this issue.”

The Government should respect the victims and witnesses who fought for justice and should adopt a comprehensive transitional justice strategy as a matter of priority, the experts added.

Mr. Fujimori was serving a 25-year jail term for serious human rights violations including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and kidnapping. His conviction, after a judicial process that met national and international fair trial standards, had been hailed as a major achievement in the fight against impunity.

Current President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s decision to pardon him was announced on 24 December, triggering street protests.

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