Judiciary in the spotlight: Hinostroza under attack; Chávarry fights back

6 October 2018

Two weeks ago, Judge César Hinostroza managed to avoid being accused of belonging to a criminal organisation by the Permanent Commission in Congress. Last week it appeared that his luck was running out: the plenary in Congress decided to reverse this earlier acquittal and accuse him formally of being part of such an organisation, as well as having illegally freed those who were culpable, illegally traded favours, and having behaved in ways incompatible with his position.

The legislature failed to reach an agreement on the cases of four other suspended members of the Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura (CNM) whose misdeeds had been recorded on tape. While they were not judged to have been members of a criminal organisation, two were found guilty of bribery. All four were ejected from the position they had held, and all will be banned from public office for ten years. 

On 3 October, Chief Public Prosecutor Pedro Gonzalo Chávarry threatened to launch legal investigations into the affairs of President Martin Vizcarra; Vizcarra had previously called on him to resign his post. Chávarry said he would not tolerate executive interference in the affairs of the judiciary. The President retorted immediately that what the country needs is a public prosecutor that is above reproach, not someone widely believed to be implicated in corruption.

Chávarry has repeatedly rejected calls on him to resign, in spite of the information that links him with corruption within the CNM. His intimidating threats towards Vizcarra are seen as validation of the idea that the best mode of defence is attack. 

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