The Peru constitutional court moved Wednesday to affirm a 2017 pardon granting the release of ex-President Alberto Fujimori despite an Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruling that required the release be blocked.
Fujimori was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to the maximum term of 25 years for various war crimes and corruption during his rule as president in Peru from 1990-2000. In a statement the president of the judicial body, Francisco Morales Saravia, commented that “the rulings of the Constitutional Court must be followed and complied with, just like resolutions of the Supreme Court” referring to earlier actions by the Peruvian Supreme Court in the case.
The Constitutional Court ruling is the latest in a lengthy series of legal exchanges regarding the controversial pardoning of Fujimori by ex-president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in 2017. Kuczynski pardoned Fujimori on humanitarian grounds while seeking support from the Popular Force Party led Fujimori’s daughter, Keiko Fujimori. At the time Kuczynski was embroiled in an impeachment and corruption scandal for which he later resigned.
In response to the circumstances surrounding the pardon including public uproar and outcry from the IACHR, of which Peru is a member, the Peruvian Supreme Court annulled the pardon in 2018 and Fujimori was returned to jail shortly thereafter. After an appeal the annulment was overturned by the Constitutional Court. Despite this, Fujimori has continued to be held in custody in deference to the IACHR ruling.
Fujimori was convicted for his role in multiple early 1990s massacres as well as for embezzlement of public funds. Fujimori also has a pending case against him for mass sterilizations of indigenous women during his time in power. Despite the widespread condemnation from international human rights groups Fujimori maintains a strong base of support in Peru where supporters have lauded him for his economic policies and successful war against the guerilla group Shining Path. Carlos Rivera, a lawyer who has represented relatives of the victims killed in the massacres ordered by Fujimori, has stated that if the disgraced ex-president is released then the IACHR would be petitioned for a “new process of compliance monitoring.”