While outside the Barbadillo prison, in Ate, northeast of Lima, a group of faithful, wearing orange balloons and polo shirts with the face of Alberto Fujimori, danced to the Ritmo del Chino — a technocumbia with which the Peruvian-Japanese tried for re-election in the early 2000s — relatives of the La Cantuta students who died in 1992 gathered in front of the Palace of Justice. in the Historic Center, to shout at the top of their lungs: "Pardon is insult." But if these two scenes illustrate what the imminent release of the former president convicted of crimes against humanity and imprisoned since 2005 produces in the country, the ruling of the Constitutional Court opened a diplomatic front between Peru and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which on Tuesday night required the State to refrain from executing the release order.
Six years after Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted him a humanitarian pardon that undermined his government, the Constitutional Court has ordered his immediate release through a resolution that echoes that presidential grace and that, of course, also divides waters: while supporters of Fujimorism and congressmen consider that the provisions of the Constitutional Court should be complied with, On the other side there is a sector of analysts and parliamentarians who warn of a break between Peru and the inter-American system. If successful, it could end in a complaint to the Organization of American States (OAS) and even in expulsion by ignoring a decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) that blocks Fujimori's departure from Barbadillo.
A week ago, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights reminded the Peruvian State that the obligation to refrain from releasing him remains in force and granted it a period of six days to issue a report on the matter. This Wednesday is the deadline, when Fujimori is expected to be released from prison. During the afternoon, after learning of the Constitutional Court's resolution, President Dina Boluarte held a meeting with the Minister of Justice, Eduardo Arana. There was some suspense about how the Executive would deal with the issue, but it has transpired that they will abide by the ruling. The Inter-American Court ultimately asked for time until the court has "all the necessary elements to analyze whether that decision [the Constitutional Court's ruling] complies with the conditions established" in an April 2022 resolution, when the former president's release from prison was already prevented.
The patriarch's children gathered at Keiko Fujimori's home in the district of San Borja. Former congressman Kenji Fujimori was captured by various media just as he was making his entrance. Both preferred not to provide statements; They said they will do so as soon as the administrative procedures are finished. Elio Riera, Fujimori's lawyer, declared in the evening that everything depended on the officials of the National Penitentiary Institute (INPE), specifically the Area of Liberties, the competent office. "The mandate of the Constitutional Court says that it must be executed during the day. It should be complied with. But it's up to INPE," he said.
Congresswoman Ruth Luque announced that she will denounce the three magistrates of the Constitutional Court who signed the resolution: Francisco Morales Saravia, Luz Pacheco Zerga and Gustavo Gutiérrez Ticse. "It's an illegal freedom. I'm going to denounce them for the crime of prevarication and for constitutional infractions," he said, "here there is a congressional majority that is not even interested in what the Inter-American Court says. They have come with a whole script to impose this pact of impunity and corruption."
The National Coordinator of Human Rights issued a statement arguing that the Constitutional Court "violates the rule of law by violating the resolution of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and, in addition, attacks the memory of the victims of the Fujimori dictatorship." The feminist organization Manuela Ramos also criticized the measure and emphasized Alberto Fujimori's reluctance to apologize for his crimes and have a purpose of amendment. "Fujimori is imprisoned for crimes against humanity. He has not apologized for them, much less made reparations to the victims," they said.
In the resolution, the magistrates of the Constitutional Court allege that Fujimori "has already served approximately two-thirds of his sentence," that "he is of advanced age (85 years old)" and that "his health is broken." An argument that has been used by the orange supporters, even asking for "humanity to the relatives of the victims", such as the spokesman for Fuerza Popular, Miguel Torres, in a highly criticized event.
For former Attorney General César Azabache, this is a shift in disregarding the mandates of the Inter-American Court. "It's a very serious turning point in not complying with an express order from the Court and how civil rights protections are set up in the country. It's a turn toward a point of no return." Carlos Rivera, a lawyer with the Legal Defense Institute (IDL), who defends the bereaved, expects an immediate ruling from the court. "The Inter-American Court of Human Rights could denounce the case before the OAS. But I'm sure he'll call a hearing first."
While one side celebrates, the other begs for some justice to be restored. Reconciliation does not seem like a real option. And it all happens on the eve of December 7, one year after Pedro Castillo's self-coup and the beginning of Dina Boluarte's abrupt government.
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