TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The families of victims of human rights abuses under former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori testified on Friday at an international human rights tribunal, asking the court to annul the controversial pardon of the former leader late last year.
Fujimori, who served as president during the 1990s, was less than halfway into a 25-year prison term stemming from convictions on human rights abuses when current President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski issued the pardon to the ailing 79-year-old.
While groups such as Amnesty International harshly criticized the pardon, about 65 percent of Peruvians support it, according to a recent poll.
The pardon was issued on Christmas Eve, and met by thousands of enraged protesters who took to the streets to criticize what many viewed as a miscarriage of justice.
Shortly after he announced his decision, Kuczynski, who was also facing his own possible removal from office by Peru’s Congress, described it as a “humanitarian pardon.”
Critics who accompanied victims’ families before the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) on Friday described it very differently.
“The pardon was contrary to law and a measure of impunity that must be revoked,” said Viviana Krsticevic, head of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).
Krsticevic argued that Kuczynski’s reasoning behind the pardon, details of which were publicly revealed for the first time on Friday, was full of inconsistencies and contradictions.
Lawyers representing the Peruvian government denied the pardon was the result of a political pact between Kuczynski and the Fujimori family, which continues to maintain considerable political influence in the Congress.
“Speculation should be kept outside the court,” said lawyer Adrian Simons.