Fujimori pardoned in 'impunity pact'

25 December 2017

President Kuczynski, having been reprieved from impeachment by the abstention of ten Fujimorista dissidents, has authorised an official pardon for former president Alberto Fujimori. Kuczynski waited until Christmas Eve to announce this controversial decision.

The transaction, labelled by various critics as a case of ‘pacted impunity’, has been condemned by the human rights community, both in Peru and around the world.

The attempt to impeach Kuczynski on 21 December in Congress failed owing to the abstention of ten members of Fuerza Popular, the Fujmorista party. They were led by Kenji Fujimori, the former president’s younger son. This, coupled by the absence of ten members of Nuevo Perú, made it impossible for the motion of impeachment, which required 87 votes (out of a total of 130), to succeed.

An action widely interpreted as payback was not long in coming. On 24 December, while most Peruvians were celebrating the onset of Christmas, Kuczynski issued a ‘humanitarian pardon’ to Alberto Fujimori. He did so adducing that Fujimori was suffering from an incurable disease, exacerbated by his confinement in prison. Three doctors (of which one appears to have been Fujimori’s personal physician) signed a certificate validating this diagnosis.

Fujimori and his legal advisors had repeatedly claimed a medical justification for his release, but on repeated occasions over the last ten years this was declined. Having been elected on an anti-Fujimori ticket only last year, Kuczynski originally pledged not to pardon the former president. However, over the last six months, as the Fujimorista pressures against his government built up, his stand on this has changed.

Alberto Fujimori was serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and the violation of human rights. New charges were recently brought against him.

Kenji Fujimori has led the campaign for his father’s release, while Keiko Fujimori, the leader of Fuerza Popular, has adopted a much more hesitant position. In the opinion of many observers, this was for fear that her father, once released, would overshadow her position at the head of the Fujimorista movement. Kenji and Keiko have long vied with one another to lead that movement.

The announcement of Fujimori’s pardon triggered instant demonstrations of protest in Lima and elsewhere. These seem likely to expand over the next few days. Among the most vociferous critics are the relatives of those killed in the twin massacres, at the Cantuta University and in the Barrios Altos in 1991, who say that they will receive no reprieve for the loss of their loved ones.

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