Fujimori could be Charged over Death Squad
Ex-President Alberto Fujimori may be charged with responsibility for killings by a paramilitary death squad that was behind some of Peru's worst human rights atrocities, a state attorney said on Friday.
Jose Ugaz, who is investigating a web of corruption woven by Fujimori's fugitive ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos, said the former president could not have failed to know about the squad, called Grupo Colina. He said Fujimori, as constitutional head of the armed forces, was ultimately responsible for not reining in its excesses.
The shadowy squad, allegedly formed by Montesinos to combat rising attacks by Shining Path rebels in the 1990s, killed 15 people mistaken for guerrillas at a party in the Barrios Altos district of Lima in 1991 and kidnapped and killed nine students and a professor at La Cantuta university the following year.
After originally trying to cover up the La Cantuta killings, soldiers were convicted by a military court in 1994, but were freed in 1995 under an amnesty law signed by Fujimori absolving them of human rights abuses in the guerrilla war.
There were no charges in the Barrios Altos case, but human rights groups, citing survivors of the massacre, said it too was the work of Grupo Colina and have taken the case to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in Costa Rica.
``What no one could argue is that Fujimori did not know about the existence of Grupo Colina actions,'' Ugaz told reporters after testifying to a congressional commission studying whether to charge him with crimes against humanity.
``By knowing about this illicit group ... Fujimori, in his capacity as supreme head of the armed forces, had the obligation to dismantle this organization, prevent it from operating and punish those responsible. His omission ... is a crime and thus he assumes the status of co-author,'' Ugaz said.
Fujimori, in self-exile in Japan, denies involvement in any of the illicit activities attributed to his spy chief -- LIMA, Peru (Reuters)
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