Apr 7, 2009
Alberto Fujimori, the former Peruvian president who is now 70 years old, has finally been convicted of kidnapping and murder. He has been sentenced to 25 years in jail in what was described as a landmark ruling for human rights cases in Latin America.
A three-judge panel found the 70-year-old guilty of authorizing a military death squad during the state's "dirty war" against Maoist rebels in the 1990s.
Maria McFarland, a Human Rights Watch researcher who attended the trial said. "After years of evading justice, Fujimori is finally being held to account for some of his crimes,"
"With this ruling, and its exemplary performance during the trial, the Peruvian court has shown the world that even former heads of state cannot expect to get away with serious crimes."
Argentina, Chile and Colombia may also be watching this day as they come to terms with their own dark deeds of past history.
Fujimori during the trial repeatedly protested his innocence and said he deserved credit for saving Peru from anarchy.
He told the court, "I governed from hell, not the palace," and blamed his former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, for any counter-insurgency excesses.
Fujimori's daughter, Keiko, is a congresswoman and a leading contender for the 2011 presidential race and says that she plans to pardon her father just as soon as she can.
In this interview held at the beginning of Fujimori's trial more than 15 months ago, one of his victims - Gisela Ortiz who lost her brother, a student, as Fujimori waged the La Cantuta massacre - explained why she thought Fujimori should be brought to justice.
(N.B. this interview is with Gisela Ortiz, speaking in Spanish, with translation of her words by peace and human rights activist, Hayden Gore).