Report: Peru Officer Claims Massacre Responsibility
An army officer believed to have commanded a death squad blamed for some of Peru's worst human rights atrocities has claimed responsibility for two notorious massacres, a television station said on Monday.
In an apparently exclusive report, Gilberto Hume, general editor for cable channel Canal N, told a news show on the station that Major Santiago Martin Rivas had admitted to being behind the murders of 15 people at a party in the Barrios Altos district of Lima in 1991 and the kidnapping and murder of nine students and a professor at La Cantuta university in 1992.
"He has accepted responsibility for La Cantuta and Barrios Altos for the first time," Hume told Reuters, elaborating on his TV report.
His conversation with Martin Rivas has not been aired and the officer's whereabouts were not disclosed. But Hume said Martin Rivas was willing to reveal all to a planned Truth Commission due to probe alleged rights abuses.
"(Martin Rivas) is in hiding in Peru and is willing to give his testimony to a truth commission. He doesn't want to turn himself in to judicial authorities he doesn't trust," Hume said. "What he wants is a fair trial."
Martin Rivas is thought to have commanded the shadowy Grupo Colina death squad, which was allegedly formed by ex-president Alberto Fujimori's powerful spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, to combat rising attacks by Shining Path rebels in the 1990s.
Fujimori was fired last year amid a graft scandal sparked by Montesinos. The former spy master is on the run from 61 charges in 31 cases ranging from corruption to ordering murder -- LIMA, Peru (Reuters)
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