SECOND REPORT ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN PERU
SECTION I - DEMOCRACY AND RULE OF LAW
STRUCTURE OF THE PERUVIAN STATE
A. THE 1993 CONSTITUTION
1. By referendum held October 31, 1993, the Peruvian people ratified the approval of the Constitution by the Democratic Constituent Congress. The new Constitution replaced the 1979 one, and was designed with a view to modernizing the State. In this respect, then-Justice Minister of Peru explained in his introduction to the new Constitution that: "... the national political bureaucracy had not yet experienced the discredit that it suffers today; terrorism was not known, at least in our country, on the scale that on which it has since been seen; fast-paced technological change, the consolidation of the liberal economic model, and democracy in the realm of politics were not given sufficient consideration by the framers of the 1979 Constitution. There was a heavy emphasis on the State as service provider, reflected in its interventionist conduct, which found full expression in the 1980s. It was a bloated State, as big as it was weak, as bureaucratic as it was anarchic. It was a situation that had to be ended, and in effect that was done. The 1993 Constitution is the legal expression of the effort to reverse the situation described."
2. The Peruvian Constitution notes at Article 43 that "the Republic of Peru is democratic, social, independent, and sovereign. The State is one and indivisible. Its form of government is unitary, representative, and decentralized, and it is organized pursuant to the principle of the separation of powers." This last provision was introduced in the 1993 Constitution. The 1993 Constitution also provides that State power emanates from the people, and considers as one of the essential duties of the State "to guarantee the full observance of human rights."
1. The Legislative Branch
3. The Peruvian Constitution calls for the Legislative power to vest in the Congress, which has a single chamber made up of 120 members of Congress. The Congress is elected for a five-year period. Pursuant to Article 93 of the Constitution, "the members of Congress represent the Nation."
4. The main powers of Congress are provided for at Article 102 of the Constitution. Special mention can be made of the powers to "adopt laws and legislative resolutions, as well as to interpret, amend, or derogate existing laws; to ensure respect for the Constitution and the laws, and to provide as necessary to enforce the responsibility of those who break the law; to approve treaties; to approve the budget and the general accounts; and to exercise all other powers indicated by the Constitution and that properly vest in the legislative function." Article 104 of the Constitution establishes that: "The Congress may delegate to the Executive Branch the power to legislate, by legislative decree, as to the specific matter, and for the given period, as established in the authoritative law."
5. The Constitution provides at Article 105 that "the Congress shall accord preferential treatment to proposals sent by the Executive Branch with urgency," and provides at Article 106 that "the structure and operation of the State entities provided for in the Constitution" are regulated by organic laws (leyes orgánicas). It is also established that the draft organic laws are handled like any other law, and are approved or amended by vote of "more than half of the legal number of members of Congress."
2. The Executive Branch
6. The Constitution provides that the President of the Republic is the Head of State and personifies the Nation. The president is to be elected by direct vote, and under Article 112 of the Constitution, "the presidential term is for five years. The President may be re-elected immediately for an additional period. After at least one other constitutional term has lapsed, the former President may run again, subject to the same conditions."
7. The main powers of the President are spelled out in Article 118 of the Constitution. They include the following: "To carry out and enforce the Constitution and the treaties, statutes, and all other legal provisions. To represent the State, inside and outside the Republic. To direct the Government's general policy. To ensure the internal order and external security of the Republic. To call elections for President of the Republic and representatives to Congress, and for mayors and members of municipal councils and all other officials as indicated by law.... To exercise the power to regulate the laws without violating them or altering their meaning; and, within those limits, to issue decrees and resolutions. To carry out and enforce the judgments and resolutions of the judicial organs.... To preside over the National Defense System; and to organize, distribute, and order the use of the Armed Forces and the National Police.... To administer the public treasury.... To grant pardons and commute sentences...."
8. The Constitution of Peru provides that the direction and management of public services are entrusted to the Council of Ministers, made up of its President and several Ministers. The appointment of the President of the Council, who may be a minister-without-portfolio, and of the Ministers, is to be made by the President of the Republic. The President of the Council of Ministers undertakes to coordinate the functions of all the other ministers, and, in keeping with Article 123 of the Constitution, he or she shall be, "after the President of the Republic, the authorized spokesperson of the Government."
3. The Judicial Branch
9. The Peruvian Constitution establishes that the power to administer justice emanates from the people and is exercised by the judicial branch, through the judicial organs: the Supreme Court of Justice and all other courts (cortes and juzgados) as determined by the Organic Law on the Judiciary. The President of the Supreme Court of Justice is also President of the Judicial Branch, according to Article 144 of the Constitution, and the Plenary Chamber of the Supreme Court, is the highest-level deliberating body of the Judiciary. Article 141 of the Constitution indicates that "the Supreme Court shall rule on cassation motions, or in the final instance, when the action is initiated in a Superior Court or before the Supreme Court, in keeping with the law. In addition, it hears motions of cassation against the rulings of the military jurisdiction, with the limitations established at Article 173." According to that Article 173, the only resolutions from the military jurisdictions subject to cassation by the Supreme Court of Justice are those in which the military courts have imposed the death penalty.
10. The Judicial Branch includes the Supreme Court, Superior Courts (Cortes Superiores), Specialized and Mixed Courts (Juzgados Especiales y Mixtos), Justices of the Peace/Lawyer (Juzgados de Paz Letrados), and Justices of the Peace (Juzgados de Paz). There are 25 judicial districts. There is one Supreme Court for the whole country, while there is a Superior Court in each Judicial District. There are also Specialized and Mixed Courts and Justices of the Peace. Except for the justices of the peace, all other judges, including the members of the Supreme Court, are appointed and removed, according to the Peruvian Constitution, by the National Council of the Judiciary (Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura), analyzed infra. The Constitution also provides for the Constitutional Court, also examined infra.
11. According to Article 139 of the Peruvian Constitution, the judicial function is characterized by the following principles and rights: "... Independence in the exercise of the judicial function. No authority may take up cases pending before the judicial organ nor interfere in the exercise of its function. Nor may it void resolutions that have become res judicata, nor terminate ongoing procedures, nor modify judgments nor delay their enforcement.... The observance of due process and judicial protection.... The principle of not being deprived of the right of defense at any stage of the process.... [and] popular participation in the appointment and removal of judges, in keeping with the law."
12. Pursuant to the terms at Article 146 of the Constitution of the Republic of Peru, the Peruvian State guarantees the judges: "1. Their independence. They are subject exclusively to the Constitution and the law. 2. Tenure in their posts. They may not be transferred without their consent. 3. Their permanence in the service, so long as their conduct and suitability are in keeping with their function. 4. A level of compensation that ensures them a standard of living worthy of their mission and rank."
4. National Council of the Judiciary (Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura)
13. The Peruvian Constitution establishes that the National Council of the Judiciary is an independent organ entrusted with the selection and appointment, by open competition, of prosecutors and judges (except for justices of the peace, who are elected by popular vote).
14. The National Council of the Judiciary is made up, in principle, of seven members, elected for five years. The members are elected, in distinct secret votes, by several national entities: one by the Supreme Court of Justice, one by the Board of Supreme Prosecutors (Junta de Fiscales Supremos), one by the members of the bar associations, two by the country's other legal professional associations, one by the presidents of the private universities. The number of members of the National Council of the Judiciary may be increased to nine, in which case the two additional members would be chosen by the Council itself, from lists proposed by labor and business. Under the Peruvian Constitution, the members of the National Council of the Judiciary may be removed for grave cause, by decision of Congress.
15. Article 154 of the Peruvian Constitution establishes that in addition to the above-noted function of appointing judges and prosecutors, the National Council of the Judiciary also has the function of ratifying all judges and prosecutors every seven years, and removing judges and prosecutors at all levels, including the members of the Supreme Court of Justice and the supreme prosecutors. The final resolution must be reasoned, and the person concerned must first be given a hearing.
5. The Public Ministry
16. The Peruvian Constitution provides that the Public Ministry enjoys autonomy, and that it is presided over by the Public Prosecutor (Fiscal de la Nación), who is elected by the Board of Supreme Prosecutors. The Public Prosecutor is elected for a three-year term, and may be re-elected for two additional terms.
17. As indicated in the previous paragraph, the power to appoint and remove of the prosecutors working under the Public Ministry is vested in the National Council of the Judiciary. As provided at Article 159 of the Peruvian Constitution, the powers of the Public Ministry are: "1. To bring a judicial action, on its own initiative or at the request of a party, to defend legality and the public interests protected by the law. 2. To ensure the independence of the judicial organs and the proper administration of justice. 3. To represent society in judicial proceedings. 4. To conduct criminal investigations from the start. With that purpose in mind, the National Police is obliged to carry out the mandates of the Public Ministry in the performance of its function. 5. To press criminal charges on its own initiative or upon motion by a party...."
6. Constitutional Court
18. The Peruvian Constitution provides that the Constitutional Court is an autonomous and independent organ, vested with powers of constitutional review. Its seven members are elected by the Congress of the Republic for a five-year term. The Magistrates of the Constitutional Court are not subject to an imperative mandate, nor do they receive instructions from any entity. They cannot be removed from their post. They do not answer for their votes or opinions in the performance of their function. They enjoy immunity. They cannot be detained or tried without authorization of the Court itself, sitting en banc, except in the case of flagrancy (Article 13 of the Organic Law on the Constitutional Court).
19. Article 202 of the Peruvian Constitution vests the Constitutional Court with jurisdiction: "To take cognizance, in first instance and without appeal, of actions of unconstitutionality. 2. To take cognizance, in the last and final instance, of rulings denying motions for habeas corpus, amparo, habeas data, and action for enforcement [acción de cumplimiento]. 3. To take cognizance of jurisdictional disputes, or of powers assigned by the Constitution, pursuant to the law." Later, Law No. 26,435, adopted by the Democratic Constituent Congress and promulgated by the President of the Republic in 1995, made it necessary to have the votes of six of the seven members of the Constitutional Court to declare a law unconstitutional.
7. The Security and National Defense System
20. The Constitution provides that the President of the Republic directs the National Defense System, is the Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces and National Police, and is assigned the power to promote officers to the rank of general and admiral in the Armed Forces, and general in the National Police.
21. Article 173 of the 1993 Constitution provides that "in the event of a service-related offense, the members of the Armed Forces and National Police are subject to the respective jurisdiction and the Military Justice Code. Its provisions are not applicable to civilians, except in the case of the offenses of treason [traición a la patria] and terrorism, as provided by law. The Supreme Court has the power, pursuant to Article 141 of the Constitution, to sit in judgment when the death penalty may be imposed. Those who infringe the laws on Compulsory Military Service are also subjected to the Military Justice Code."
8. The Electoral System
22. The Peruvian Constitution provides that the purpose of the electoral system is to ensure that voting reflects the authentic, free, and spontaneous will of the citizens. In addition, the electoral system is made up of the National Elections Board (Jurado Nacional de Elecciones), the National Elections Procedures Office, and the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status.
23. The highest-level authority of the National Elections Board is the Board sitting en banc, made up of five members, elected by the Supreme Court of Justice, the Board of Supreme Prosecutors, the Lima Bar Association, and the deans of the law schools, both public and private.
24. Pursuant to Article 178 of the Peruvian Constitution, "the National Election Board has authority: to monitor the legality of the vote and the holding of elections, referenda, and other popular consultations, as well as the preparation of voter rolls. To maintain and keep custody of the registry of political organizations. To ensure compliance with the rules on political organizations and all election-related provisions. To administer electoral justice.... In respect of elections, the National Elections Board may propose legislation."
25. The Constitution provides that the rulings of the full National Elections Board, in respect of elections, referenda, or other types of popular consultations, are issued in the last and final instance, and no appeal may be brought against them.
B. THE PERUVIAN CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM AND HUMAN RIGHTS
1. Peru's Constitutional Framework
26. Of the legal provisions related to international treaties and human rights in Peru's 1993 Constitution, Article 55 provides that treaties entered into by the State become an integral part of Peruvian law. At Article 56, the Constitution regulates the procedure by which they are incorporated definitively into domestic law. To this end, it provides that international agreements, among others human rights treaties--by interpretation of that article, which does not mention them expressly--must be approved by the Congress, before they are effectively ratified by the President of the Republic.
27. Article 57, in turn, establishes the mechanism by which a treaty may be denounced, and by which the State would cease to be bound by the requirements imposed by it. This clause provides, in generic terms, that the denunciation of international agreements is a prerogative, in principle, of the President of the Republic. In the case of treaties subject to prior approval of the Congress, it notes that the denunciation may proceed once the Legislative branch has so consented.
28. The constitution in force up until 1993 contained provisions that expressly established the priority to be accorded respect for human rights as a matter of law and policy for the State. Thus, the clause at Article 80 stated that ensuring full observance of human rights was one of the "essential" ("primordiales") duties of the authorities. Article 211(1), in the section on the obligations and powers of the head of the Executive branch, provides that the President of the Republic shall be subject to complying with, among others, the provisions that emanate from human rights treaties.
29. Another particularity of the 1979 Constitution was Title VIII, clause 16. It specifically vested three international instruments with constitutional rank: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), the Optional Protocol to the CCPR, and the American Convention on Human Rights. It should be noted that with respect to the American Convention, clause 16 referred expressly to Peru's accession to Articles 45 and 62, respectively, regarding the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Commission and the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. These provisions were enhanced by the provision in Title V, Article 305, referring to international bodies. Article 305 gave Peruvian citizens recourse to those "international courts and organs constituted by treaties to which Peru is a party," once they have exhausted the remedies available in the domestic jurisdiction.
30. The above description of the constitutional reform process undertaken by Peru in the early 1990s, which culminated in the adoption of a new constitutional text, highlights that the Peruvian State has opted not to make specific reference in the new Constitution to any international human rights instrument. For example, the Constitution adopted in 1993 does not give hierarchical rank to any of the three international agreements that enjoyed such status under the 1979 Constitution, including the American Convention on Human Rights. This represents backsliding in terms of the rank accorded to the international protection of human rights, thus it could be interpreted that these same international instruments are now being accorded legal rank equal to that of general legislation, making it possible to amend or abrogate them by Congressional statute, in a marked departure from the approach taken by the framers of the 1979 Constitution.
2. Peru's International Obligations
31. The Peruvian State has ratified and is party to many international instruments for the protection of human rights. As regards the universal system, Peru has acceded to the following conventions and treaties, among others:
(a) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 2200A (XXI), of December 16, 1966, which entered into force on March 23, 1976 (ratified constitutionally, pursuant to the sixteenth general provision of the 1979 Constitution of Peru);
(b) the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and which entered into force on January 3, 1976 (signed by Peru on January 11, 1977, approved by Decree-law No. 22,189, of March 28, 1978, and ratified on April 12, 1978);
(c) the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly by resolution 2200A (XXI), of December 16, 1966, and which entered into force on March 23, 1976;
(d) the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly by resolution 34/180 of December 18, 1979, and which entered into force on September 3, 1981;
(e) the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the 39th United Nations General Assembly by resolution 39/46, of December 10, 1984, and which entered into force on June 26, 1987 (approved by Legislative Resolution No. 24,815, of May 12, 1988, and ratified on July 7, 1988);
(f) the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly by resolution 44/25, of November 20, 1989, and which entered into force on September 2, 1990;
(g) the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted by the General Assembly by resolution 2106 (XXI) of December 21, 1965, and which entered into force on January 4, 1969 (approved by Peru by Decree-Law No. 18,969, of September 21, 1971, and ratified on September 29, 1971);
(h) the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the General Assembly by Resolution 260A (III) of December 9, 1948, and which entered into force on January 12, 1951 (approved by Legislative Resolution No. 13,288, of December 28, 1959, and ratified on February 24, 1960);
(i) the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, adopted by the General Assembly by resolution 3068 (XXVIII), of November 30, 1973, and which entered into force on July 18, 1976;
(j) the Convention on the Political Rights of Women, adopted by the General Assembly by resolution 640 (VII), of December 20, 1952, and which entered into force on July 7, 1954;
(k) the International Convention against Apartheid in Sports, adopted by the General Assembly by resolution 40/64, of December 10, 1985;
(l) the Slavery Convention, which entered into force on March 9, 1927;
(m) the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, adopted by the General Assembly by resolution 45/158 of December 18, 1990, and not yet in force;
(n) Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, adopted by the United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons, adopted by the General Assembly by resolution 429 (V), of December 14, 1950, and which entered into force on April 22, 1954; and,
(o) the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, adopted by the General Assembly by resolution 2198 (XXI) of December 16, 1966, and which entered into force on October 4, 1967.
32. With respect to the international instruments approved within the inter-American system for the protection of human rights, Peru is a party to the following human rights treaties:
(a) the American Convention on Human Rights, signed at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Human Rights, on November 22, 1969 (approved by Decree-Law 22,231, of July 11, 1978, and ratified on July 28, 1978);
(b) the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, adopted by the 15th Regular Session of the General Assembly, Organization of American States, December 9, 1985 (approved by Legislation Resolution No. 25,286 of December 12, 1990, ratified by Peru on March 28, 1991);
(c) the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women/Convention of Belém do Pará, adopted during the 24th Regular Session of the General Assembly, June 9, 1994 (ratified by Peru on June 4, 1996); and,
(d) the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights/Protocol of San Salvador, adopted November 17, 1988 (ratified by Peru on June 4, 1995).
33. Six of the above-cited legal instruments of the universal system have established committees of independent experts to monitor the States parties' compliance with the obligations set forth in these instruments. To this end, they issue periodic reports that analyze the evolution of the internal situation in the countries in relation to the rights with respect to which they have jurisdiction to investigate. The six organs are the following:
(a) the Human Rights Committee, entrusted with monitoring compliance with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
(b) the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which supervises compliance with the obligations that arise from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
(c) the Committee against Torture, created by the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
(d) the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, created by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;
(e) the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, whose establishment was mandated by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and,
(f) the Committee on the Rights of the Child, established by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
34. The situation in Peru has been addressed by these organs on various occasions; the organs have highlighted an array of human rights problems, and have recommended that the Peruvian authorities make changes or adopt specific corrective measures. The Committee against Torture, in its concluding observations issued on occasion of its November 1999 session, noted that the following situations were especially worrisome: "a. the continuing numerous allegations of torture; b. the lack of 'independence' of those members of the judiciary who have no security of tenure; c. the period of incommunicado pre-trial detention of 15 days for persons suspected of acts of terrorism; d. the use of military courts to try civilians; e. the automatic penalty of at least 1 year of solitary confinement from the date of the trial of anyone convicted of a terrorism offence; f. the apparent lack of effective investigation and prosecution of those who are accused of having committed acts of torture; g. the use of, in particular, the amnesty laws which preclude prosecution of alleged torturers who must, according to Articles 4, 5 and 12 of the Convention, be investigated and prosecuted where appropriate. h. the maintenance in some parts of the country of emergency laws which abrogate ordinary human rights protection; i. the special prison regime applicable to convicted terrorists and in particular to convicted terrorist leaders; j. the failure of the Attorney General's Office to keep a precise register of persons who claim that they have been tortured."
35. With respect to the persistence of the military jurisdiction and its effects on the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms, the Human Rights Committee indicated in 1999 that trials before special courts made up of anonymous judges are incompatible with Article 14 of the Covenant" and added that "the very nature of the system of trials by 'faceless judges' in a remote prison is predicated on the exclusion of the public from the proceedings. In this situation, the defendants do not know who the judges trying them are and unacceptable impediments are created to their preparation of their defence and communication with their lawyers. Moreover, this system fails to guarantee a cardinal aspect of a fair trial within the meaning of Article 14 of the Covenant: that the tribunal must be, and be seen to be, independent and impartial." It concluded be noting: "In a system of trial by 'faceless judges', neither the independence nor the impartiality of the judges is guaranteed, since the tribunal, being established ad hoc, may comprise serving members of the armed forces."
36. The Committee against Torture also took note of the Peruvian situation with respect to the practice of torture or abuse by the Peruvian security and police authorities and set forth, with concern, the information provided by two former agents of the Peruvian intelligence corps, who allegedly admitted that they received training, by their superiors, in the torture of detainees. The Committee also cites a report by the World Organization Against Torture, which alluded, along the lines of what the former agents described, to the systematic practice of abuse and torture by State forces. The Committee conveyed to the Government its special concern that this information sparked regarding the situation of torture in Peru.
37. The Committee also made a more general appeal, on reiterating the need to "accelerate the reforms geared to installing a genuine rule of law." To this end, it added, it was imperative for the authorities of the Peruvian State to derogate laws that infringe on the independence of the judiciary, which is the central guarantee for developing a system for the protection of human rights.
38. On issues of racial discrimination, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in April 1999, found "the close relationship between socio-economic underdevelopment and the phenomena of ethnic or racial discrimination against part of the population, chiefly the indigenous and peasant communities" existing in Peru. In terms of laws, the Committee observed, also with concern, the lack of specific legislative provisions to ensure full observance of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
39. Later, the Committee noted: "It is also worrying to learn that people who are in fact subjected to all sorts of pressure, from both subversive groups and the forces of law and order, are being charged with aiding and abetting terrorists. Allegations have further been made that indigenous communities are being forced to set up self-defence committees under the armed forces and that young people from the most underprivileged sectors of the population are being conscripted by force."
40. Finally, the Committee urged the Peruvian authorities to pursue possible courses of action aimed at achieving a solution to the problems indicated. It encouraged the Peruvian authorities to establish a "genuine dialogue" with the non-governmental organizations involved in the struggle against racial and ethnic discrimination.
41. In turn, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in its concluding observations published in July 1998, indicated, among its main concerns, "the situation of women who have been displaced from their places of origin with their families as a result of terrorist activity." Immediately thereafter, it recommended to the authorities "that the greatest possible care should be given to such women, who, in the main, were heads of household, and who should be the beneficiaries of programmes to promote their participation in the labour force together with access for them and their families to education, health care, housing, drinking water and other essential services."
42. The Committee also indicated to the Peruvian authorities that "the Committee is deeply disturbed by the instances of sexual violence against rural and indigenous women and the high rate of sexual abuse of teenagers and girls in emergency zones." It recommended that the necessary efforts be made to provide assistance to the victims of such practices, including training for police, army, court, medical and paramedical personnel, and all those who, considering their specific functions, enter into contact with those who suffer physical or sexual abuse.
3. The Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman
43. The Peruvian Constitution defines the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman (Defensoría del Pueblo) as an autonomous organ, headed up by the Human Rights Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo), who is elected and removed by Congress. The Human Rights Ombudsman serves a five-year term, may introduce legislation, and may propose measures to facilitate the performance of his or her functions.
44. Article 162 of the Peruvian Constitution establishes that the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman is responsible for defending the constitutional rights and fundamental rights of the person and of the community, supervising the state administration, performance of its duties, and supervising the delivery of public services to citizens. In 1995, the Peruvian Congress approved the Organic Law on the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, and on September 11, 1996, the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman initiated its activities of providing services to the public, with the designation of the Ombudsman, Jorge Santistevan de Noriega.
45. The Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman is organized territorially, on a decentralized basis, with representatives of service modules in various localities nationwide, and with itinerant teams. This enables it to perform its functions throughout the national territory. In terms of its organizational structure, it has been organized in three "Adjuntías," or offices of deputy ombudsmen, organized as per the areas of authority assigned by the Constitution to the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman: human rights, state administration, and public services. In 1999 approximately 35% of its budget was made up of funds from international cooperation.
46. The work of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman covers several areas. In relation to the observance of human rights, the Office has been in charge of important matters such as the Ad Hoc Commission on innocent persons tried or convicted as terrorists, those persons facing charges yet neither convicted or cleared (los requisitoriados), persons deprived of liberty, military service, respect for constitutional guarantees, women's rights, and the rights of the disabled. Supervising the duties of the state administration, the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman has addressed issues such as limits on the access to information, the duty of the administration to make decisions in matters under its consideration, respect for the principle of legality, and pensioners' rights. In relation to the supervision performed by the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman of the delivery of public services to citizens, it has addressed matters such as access to public services, the quality and security of such services, and improper electricity bills. In addition, the Office of the Ombudsman has played a significant part in cases involving Peru before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and before the Inter-American Commission as well, submitting amicus curiae briefs on behalf of inhabitants of Peru.
47. The Commission reiterates the importance it attributes to the creation and efficient operation of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, and shares what was noted by the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos to the effect that "the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman has displayed a posture of defending human rights and citizen rights. It has played a significant part in facing up to abuses of authority and has issued pronouncements and made several recommendations to overcome problems that affect human rights." The Commission considers that the autonomous and independent existence of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman is one of the most significant elements favoring respect for human rights in Peru.
48. The Commission is of the view that the work of the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman should be supported and strengthened where it may prove necessary, be it in respect of institutional, budgetary, or other matters.
 Introduction to the 1993 Constitution by Fernando Vega Santa Gadea (Minister of Justice). Compendium of Constitutional Legislation, Walter Gutiérrez Camacho, Carlos Mesía Ramírez, official edition, Ministry of Justice (1995).
 The Congress of the 1979 Constitution was bicameral, with a 60-member Senate and a 180-member Chamber of Deputies.
 This provision is from Article 188 of the 1979 Constitution.
 Article 205 of the 1979 Constitution established a presidential term of five years, with no immediate re-election.
 That majority required by Law No. 26,435 may make it impossible for the Constitutional Court to review the constitutionality of laws, as analyzed infra.
 The Constitution of Peru was approved by the Democratic Constituent Congress and ratified in the referendum of October 31, 1993; it was then promulgated on December 29, 1993.
 The 1979 Constitution.
 The foregoing, without prejudice to possible judicial interpretations according due rank to the protection of human rights.
 Committee Against Torture; 23rd session, November 15, 1999, CAT/C/23/4, para. 4.
 Human Rights Committee, 61st session; January 9, 1998; CCPR/C/61/D/577/1994.
 Committee Against Torture, October 20, 1999; CAT/C/SR.330; p. 6.
 Id., p. 3.
 Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 54th session; CERD/C/304 Add. 69, April 13, 1999; p. 2.
 Id., p. 3.
 Id., p. 4.
 Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 19th session; A/53/38 Rev. 1, paras. 292-346; July 8, 1998; pp. 4-5.
 Id. p. 7.
 Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, Executive Summary, Segundo Informe del Defensor del Pueblo al Congreso de la República , Lima, April 1999.
 Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Informe a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Lima, November 1998. That report has been published by the Coodinadora at the following web site: <http://www.cnddhh.org.pe/inforcidh.htm>.