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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

25 Years for Peru's ex-President Fujimori

It may take a while, but increasingly international criminal law will catch up with you.  And the verdict doesn't have to be delivered by an international institution, or by a foreign court, or through universal jurisdiction.  Hence, none of the typical controversy. Justice can be delivered by fellow citizens at home.

Such was the case with former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who just yesterday was convicted of crimes against humanity by a special court in Lima and sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment. Fujimori plans to appeal.  He is currently serving a six-year sentence regarding a conviction on different charges for abuse of power while two future corruption trials are pending. I recommend this book by Professor Jo-Marie Burt at George Mason as a primer on how Fujimori manipulated fears of domestic terrorism by the putatively Maoist Shining Path to consolidate his grip on power and lucre.

Although the Fujimori trial took place in Peru, it probably would not have happened without the rapid spread of international criminal law as a normative and operational force; and also the concomitant expansion of a sophisticated network of transnational human rights entrepreneurs, NGOs, and lawyers.   

As Peru deals with abuses committed by its former rulers, we are reminded of the outpouring of sadness at the death last week in Argentina of Raul Alfonsin, its first democratically elected post-junta leader, whose honesty, integrity, and dedication to human rights made him larger than life following his resignation from public office.

And, as for us in the United States, if Peru (a democracy in its early infancy) can go this far, why can't we at least have some sort of investigatory commission into U.S. abuses of international human rights, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law in the prosecution of the '(global) war on terror,' a phrase that has since been dumped into the linguistic dustbin of history? Just a thought, which others here and here have explored much more carefully.

Posted by Mark Drumbl on April 8, 2009 at 01:38 PM | Permalink

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