Peru arrests two ex-generals in death squad probe
LIMA, Peru (Reuters) -- In what rights groups say is a landmark case, Peruvian
police have arrested two ex-armed forces generals allegedly linked to a
paramilitary death squad that killed 15 revelers in a 1991 attack on suspected
leftist rebels, the official government gazette said on Sunday.
El Peruano said Julio Salazar and Juan Rivera were detained on Saturday
first arrests since Latin America's top human rights court last week called on
Peru to declare void a 1995 amnesty law granting the military immunity in cases
involving rights abuses.
Peruvian rights groups including the leading Human Rights Association
(APRODEH) have hailed the March 20 ruling by the Inter-American Court of
They say the court's first move against an amnesty measure could have an
across a continent where many countries including Argentina have such laws.
The court called on Peru to punish members of the La Colina death squad,
rights groups say was formed by former President Alberto Fujimori's ex-spy
chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, to combat rising attacks by Shining Path guerrillas
in the 1990s.
The court, the legal arm of the Organization of American States (OAS),
amnesty law was incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights.
Party revelers killed with silencers
In the November 1991 attack, at least six masked gunman burst into a small
apartment in the Barrios Altos district, a poor Lima neighborhood close to the
presidential palace, and made a group of party-goers lie face-down on the floor.
Using pistols and automatic weapons fitted with silencers, they fired into
group, killing 15 people and injuring four. Police said they found 111 bullet shells
in the apartment after the attack.
Local media reported that the death squad mistook the party for a secret
of Shining Path rebels.
Peru formally returned to the binding jurisdiction of the OAS rights court
31, some two years after Fujimori pulled out in a dispute over summary trials for
Fujimori fled to Japan in November amid escalating corruption scandals
fired in disgrace. Under Fujimori, Peru gained one of Latin America's worst
Interim President Valentin Paniagua, who replaced Fujimori, has said his
government would accept the OAS court ruling. The new government had
admitted the Peruvian state's responsibility in the massacre.
Guerrilla wars fought against the government by Shining Path and the smaller
Revolutionary Tupac Amaru Movement (MRTA) caused about 30,000 deaths
and $25 billion in infrastructure damage since 1980.
Peru's armed forces killed thousands of people, mainly peasants in isolated
mountain villages, during the war with the rebels, according to human rights
Copyright 2001 Reuters.