II. THE PERIOD FROM JULY 28, 1990 TO APRIL 5, 1992
31. As pointed out earlier, on July 28, 1990, Alberto Fujimori, founder and leader of the Movimiento Cambio 90, became President of Peru. The Presidential Directive on Human Rights, dated September 13, 1991, states the following:
Prior to July 28, 1990, the Government Plan, CAMBIO 90, spelled out the need for a national pacification program. It recognized that the solution to the subversive problem was not a purely military one; that it was the people and the Government working together that could defeat subversion. The role played by the Armed Forces and the National Police, however fundamental, would be a supporting role, and not necessarily purely repressive. It would be part of a broader strategy. This position was corroborated in the message that the President delivered to the Nation at the time of his inauguration. In it he stated that: "The only way to end subversion is to eliminate injustice and poverty once and for all."
32. After discussing the violence unleashed by subversion and terrorism, the Presidential Directive stated the following:
In this violent scenario, though no attempt will be made to justify the factors that are the root cause of the human rights violations on the part of certain institutions of the Peruvian State, some attempt will be made to explain them and, above all, propose a set of measures--a policy--designed to reverse that situation.
33. Chapter III of that Presidential Directive, intended to explain the Government's position on human rights in Peru, states the following:
The results are not as gratifying as we might wish; just one disappeared, just one death, would be enough to label the situation as dramatic and horrible. However, the numbers are dropping; more important still is the fact that we are firmly resolved that in our country there will be not one more case of a disappearance and that torture and extrajudicial execution will be eliminated once and for all. For that we propose a number of institutional reforms, institutional control and collaboration, national education and punishment of those guilty of having committed human rights crimes.
34. As for the international control and cooperation, the Presidential Directive had the following to say:
The Peruvian Government will extend a formal invitation to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States to conduct an on-site visit in Peru. It will also invite it to make recommendations on how best to promote full observance of human rights in the country. The Peruvian Government pledges to provide an immediate response to requests for information on alleged disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture which the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Commission brings to its attention. The Peruvian Government is instructing the Foreign Ministry to represent the State in all those cases of human rights violations that international human rights organizations are now processing.
35. This human rights policy was announced as part of a number of measures that the Government adopted between May and September 1991. The International Committee of the Red Cross was authorized to enter prison facilities. The creation of a Peace Council was also announced, which was to be an office of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. A number of institutions representative of Peruvian society were to participate in the Peace Council. Work got under way to prepare a plan to establish the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights under the Office of the President of the Republic. In August 1991, authorization was given for judges and lawyers to enter all places where individuals were being held in custody, including military quarters, in order to protect the rights of those being held. Other measures initially implemented included creation of a Human Rights Office as part of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, the introduction of human rights as a topic taught in the training courses given to military personnel, and overtures to national human rights groups.
36. It was also said that efforts had gotten underway to implement an effective policy for identifying and punishing those responsible for human rights violations, demonstrated by the momentum of the trial into the death of journalist Hugo Bustíos and the serious injuries sustained by Eduardo Rojas --who died as a result of complications that developed during treatment--; the identification and trial of members of the National Police responsible for the murder of three students in July 1991, which triggered the resignation of their superior officers; and the fact that 500 members of the National Police were discharged from the service because they were believed to have been involved in corruption and human rights violations. It was also pointed out that paramilitary groups like the Rodrigo Franco Command were no longer operating.
37. Human rights organizations in Peru acknowledged that the measures adopted by the Government could improve the human rights situation. However, they said that the human rights situation was still serious and that in the first year of President Fujimori's administration, 375 enforced disappearances had been reported. Of those, 236 were still unsolved. They also reported that there had been 184 enforced disappearances in the period between January 1 and July 28, 1991. The human rights groups said that individual and mass summary executions were still being conducted, such as those that occurred in Chilcahuaycco, Chumbibilcas, Iquicha and Santa Barbara. These were incidents blamed on security forces, at times acting in concert with the so-called peasant gangs.
38. As for the fact that members of the Security Forces implicated in human rights violations were not punished, the promotions of generals Rabanal and Valdivia were deeply disturbing. General Rabanal had been implicated in crimes committed in 1986, and General Valdivia had been implicated in the Cayara incident. As for paramilitary group activity, human rights organizations stated that the "letter-bomb" tactic was now being used. One had been sent to Dr. Augusto Zúñiga Paz, Director of the Office of Legal Affairs of the Human Rights Commission of Peru, who sustained serious injuries and lost his forearm. On October 10, 1991, a letter-bomb killed Melissa Alfaro, senior editor of the newspaper Cambio. Deputy Ricardo Letts Colmenares received a letter-bomb on October 13 of that year, which was deactivated before it could cause any injury.
39. Another source of concern was the fact that the Government had adopted measures that were obviously at odds with its professed dedication to human rights, such as when General Edwin Días Zevallos, who had left the Intelligence Service when Congress discovered an illegal wiretap network, was appointed Deputy Special Military Attache to the Peruvian Embassy in Argentina. The introduction to the Presidential Appointment, dated February 21, 1991, stated that "the experience gained in the countersubversive struggle in the Argentine Republic, makes it advisable to study and analyze that country's countersubversive principles; a responsible person must be appointed for that mission." It was also reported that on July 14, 1991, a political program had aired the alleged existence of a directive for execution of antisubversive operations, which contained principles contrary to the observance of human rights. The Joint Command of the Armed Forces issued a communique stating that "the document is not consistent with either the philosophy or the spirit of the directives of the Joint Command, so that investigations have been ordered to ascertain those responsible." The political program on which the existence of this document was made public was taken off the air because of disagreements between its director, César Hildebrandt, and station executives. Thus far, the results of the investigations conducted by the Joint Command of the Armed Forces have not been made available.
40. Another matter that was disturbing for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights were the attacks by high-ranking Government officials, including the President himself, against organizations dedicated to defending and promoting human rights. The argument used was that these organizations only report violations attributed to the security forces and keep "a silence bordering on complicity" where the activities of irregular armed force groups are concerned. From the Inter-American Commission's experience, that accusation is as grave as it is false. There is abundant evidence of repeated statements made by organizations charged with defending human rights wherein they condemn the tactics used and measures taken by those armed groups. The Government's assertions are so serious because the PCP-SL has made grave threats against those organizations, precisely because the latter have been critical of the PCP-SL. The Government's statements can be used as justification by paramilitary groups to take action against those organizations, which has in fact already happened. The opinions expressed by the President and confirmed in the presence of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights help set the stage for serious attacks against Peruvian human rights organizations and stir up an unfavorable mood within the Peruvian public. The National Coordinator for Human Rights has filed a petition in this regard with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
41. The human rights situation in Peru -involving, on the one hand, serious complaints of human rights violations, and on the other the adoption of measures that could improve the situation- prompted the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, during its on-site visit to Peru, to suggest to the President of the Republic and to the then Chairman of Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs that it might be best to continue the visits, in order to observe how the measures adopted were put into practice. The Peruvian authorities agreed to the proposal. Based on that understanding, which was mentioned in the Press Communique released by the Commission at the end of its visit to Peru, during the Commission's 81st session its Chairman addressed a communication to the Government of Peru dated February 10, 1992, requesting authorization for Dr. Alvaro Tirado Mejía, a member of the Commission, to travel to Peru in mid-March, accompanied by staff from the Executive Secretariat for a follow-up visit under the terms proposed. No official reply to that communication was ever received.