Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru
- Jaymie HeilmanJaymie HeilmanDepartment of History and Classics, University of Alberta
From 2001 to 2003, Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (the Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación del Perú, or CVR) investigated and reported on human rights abuses committed in Peru by state forces and insurgents between 1980 and 2000. That twenty-year armed internal conflict began when militants of the Peruvian Communist Party-Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) launched an armed struggle against the Peruvian State. The smaller MRTA (Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) waged a separate armed struggle from 1984 until 1997. Peru’s armed forces, police, and peasant civil defense patrols carried out a counterinsurgency that lasted until the collapse of Alberto Fujimori’s authoritarian regime in 2000.
The CVR’s official mandate was to analyze why the violence occurred, determine the scale of victimization, assess responsibility, propose reparations, and recommend preventative reforms. The CVR collected nearly seventeen thousand testimonies about the violence, including harrowing stories of massacres, disappearances, torture, and sexual abuse. The CVR also held twenty-seven public hearings, broadcast on Peruvian television and radio.
Commissioners determined that the death toll from the armed internal conflict was 69,280. This number was more than twice as high as previous estimates. The CVR established that 79 percent of the victims lived in rural areas, and 75 percent of the dead spoke Quechua or another Indigenous language as their first language. Commissioners also determined that the PCP-Shining Path was responsible for 54 percent of the reported deaths. The Final Report recommended institutional reforms including changes to Peru’s educational system, limits on military autonomy, changes to policing, and greater controls over intelligence agencies. It also made a series of recommendations regarding individual and collective reparations, as well as judicial actions. These conclusions and recommendations appear in the CVR’s Final Report, a nine-volume analysis of the violence, totaling about eight thousand pages.
Commissioners forwarded forty-five cases to the Peruvian Attorney General’s office (Ministerio Público) and two cases to the Peruvian Judiciary (Poder Judicial) for investigation and possible criminal trials. Most of these cases, however, stalled in the courts. The most significant exception to these frustrated legal efforts was the trial of former president Alberto Fujimori, who was found guilty of human rights abuses and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.
The CVR proved highly controversial inside Peru. Many Peruvians argued that reconciliation would be tantamount to forgiving and forgetting terrorists’ crimes. Another heated controversy involved the accusation that the CVR was unduly sympathetic to the Shining Path and unfairly critical of the Peruvian military. Although the CVR’s work galvanized civil society, the return to power of political and military figures sharply criticized in the Final Report has led many observers to question the Truth Commission’s impact. There has also been significant disappointment with the CVR because it generated expectations for compensation and sociopolitical transformation that have not been met.
- Latin American History
- Contemporary History (Post 1945)
- Latin American History
From June 2001 to August 2003, Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (the Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación del Perú, or CVR) investigated, analyzed, and reported on human rights abuses committed in Peru by state forces and insurgents between 1980 and 2000 in what the CVR labeled an “armed internal conflict.”1 That conflict began when Shining Path militants initiated an armed struggle, and it ended with the collapse of Alberto Fujimori’s authoritarian regime. The CVR’s official mandate was to analyze why the violence occurred, determine the scale of victimization, assess responsibility, propose reparations, and recommend preventative reforms.2 Like the numerous truth commissions that preceded it, Peru’s CVR was an official body convened for a set period to investigate and draw conclusions about systematic abuses perpetrated by state or non-state actors or both during a particular historical moment. Most truth commissions aim to provide information about past human rights abuses and recommend reforms or redress or both. These commissions often prove highly controversial, as they often expose abuses that governments or citizens or both had long denied, ignored, or failed to see. Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission likewise generated significant controversy.3
The CVR investigated two decades of extreme violence that began in May 1980, when militants of the Peruvian Communist Party-For the Shining Path of Mariátegui (Partido Comunista del Perú-Por el Sendero Luminoso de Mariátegui or PCP-SL) launched an armed insurrection in the impoverished Andean department of Ayacucho. Inspired by Maoism, Shining Path militants aimed to capture control of the countryside and ultimately raze the Peruvian State. Although many Quechua-speaking peasants (campesinos) initially sympathized with the Shining Path’s efforts to combat long-standing abuses inside Peru, Shining Path militants’ extremist violence soon alienated many campesinos.
Militants of the much smaller Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru (Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA) also carried out an armed struggle from 1984 until 1997. Democratically elected presidents Fernando Belaúnde Terry (1980–1985), Alan García (1985–1990), and Alberto Fujimori (1990–2000) responded to the MRTA and especially the Shining Path with a counterinsurgency campaign that included torture, disappearance, executions, and massacres. Many of the victims had no involvement with either the Shining Path or MRTA and were instead targeted because of racialized disdain toward rural Indigenous Peruvians. Rural Self-Defense Committees, popularly known as the rondas campesinas, likewise participated in counterinsurgent efforts in the countryside.
An early effort to determine the truth about the violence took place in 1983, following the murder of eight journalists in the rural Ayacucho community of Uchuraccay. Community members had killed the journalists on the mistaken assumption that they were Shining Path militants. The murder of urban, middle-class professionals captured far more national attention than had the killings of Quechua-speaking men and women by both Shining Path militants and state forces. Led by the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, the Investigative Commission of the Events of Uchuraccay had an exceptionally high profile, but it ultimately offered few concrete answers. Instead, it mobilized racist tropes about Indigenous savagery and ignorance to explain the killings.4
Alberto Fujimori carried out a “self-coup” in April 1992, shutting down Congress and suspending Peru’s constitution, even though Peruvian soldiers, police, and the rondas campesinas had been making dramatic progress in the fight against the Shining Path. A few months after the coup, Peruvian police captured the Shining Path’s top leadership, including party founder Abimael Guzmán. Nonetheless, President Fujimori continued to invoke the specter of terrorism to restrict human rights and civil liberties in Peru. For the remaining eight years of his rule, Fujimori governed as a dictator, using bribery, intimidation, and violence to cement his hold on power, guarantee his fraudulent re-election, and further his neoliberal economic policies.
Fujimori’s authoritarian regime collapsed dramatically in 2000, following the leak of videotapes that showed his primary advisor, Vladimiro Montesinos, bribing prominent politicians and media figures with stacks of cash. These so-called vladivideos triggered so much outrage that Fujimori fled into exile and submitted his resignation from Japan, his parents’ homeland. Following the sudden end of Fujimori’s presidency, Peru’s Congress appointed the politician Valentín Paniagua interim president and called for new elections. Shortly after he assumed the presidency in November 2000, Valentín Paniagua convened a working group tasked with developing a truth commission.
Paniagua’s call for the establishment of a truth commission was the culmination of years of hard work by numerous Peruvian human rights organizations. In 1985, more than fifty Peruvian non-governmental organizations united under an umbrella organization, the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (the National Human Rights Organizing Committee, or Coordinadora). These organizations included the Instituto de Defensa Legal (Legal Defense Institute); the Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos (The Pro-Human Rights Association, or APRODEH); and the National Association of Relatives of the Kidnapped, Detained and Disappeared of Peru (ANFASEP), which was founded in Ayacucho in 1983 by women whose family members had been disappeared by Peruvian State forces. These human rights organizations demanded comprehensive official explanations for human rights abuses, a clarification of responsibility, and punishment, but their calls found little popular or state support.5 The conservative Archbishop of Ayacucho, along with many Peruvian elites, actively derided human rights organizations as terrorists.6 These organizations continued their work despite such accusations, but they struggled to gain attention in a context where national social, economic, and political elites were distant from the realities of suffering in the Andean and Amazonian regions of the country, where the violence was concentrated.7
Beginning in 1998, the Coordinadora began making public calls for a truth commission, in keeping with the increasing prominence of such bodies around the world.8 As soon as Valentín Paniagua became Peru’s interim president, the Coordinadora convinced him to establish a truth commission. Paniagua convened a working group that consulted with national and international experts and human rights organizations; that working group also studied previous truth commissions’ structures and work. The working group debated the commission’s mandate and whether or not to offer amnesty in exchange for testimony, as done in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The working group decided against extending amnesties or pardons to members of the military or subversives, a decision broadly supported by Peruvian and international human rights activists.9
Another crucial step toward the creation of the truth commission came in 2001, when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled on a complaint submitted by the Coordinadora.10 The complaint involved the 1991 Barrios Altos massacre, in which the state-controlled Colina death squad killed fifteen civilians in Lima. Those responsible were protected from prosecution by amnesty laws that Alberto Fujimori’s government had passed in 1995. The Inter-American Court ruled that the Peruvian State was responsible for the massacre and ordered its investigation by Peruvian authorities, also ruling that Peru’s amnesty laws were illegal. Immediately after the court’s ruling, Peruvian human rights activists pressed Peru’s Supreme Court to reopen all human rights cases previously blocked by the amnesty laws. The Supreme Court concurred, issuing arrest warrants for the Colina death squad and its commanders. Peruvian prosecutors began examining hundreds of other human rights cases.11
Alejandro Toledo won Peru’s 2001 presidential election and immediately ratified the creation of the Truth Commission of Peru, with two significant modifications. He increased the number of commissioners to twelve from five, adding in a military representative as well as an observer. He also added the term Reconciliation to the Truth Commission’s name on the recommendation of religious leaders.12 Commissioner Eduardo González Cueva later commented that this addition generated tremendous political tensions “since some feared that reconciliation would be the excuse for state impunity, while others suspected that the concept would be used to support an amnesty for insurgent leaders.”13
It was under President Toledo that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru (Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación del Perú or CVR) carried out its work.
Structure and Work
The CVR was led by twelve commissioners: ten men and two women. CVR President Salomón Lerner, and the Commissioners Carlos Iván Degregori, Rolando Ames, and Alberto Morote were Peruvian academics. Commissioner Sofia Macher had served as executive secretary of the Coordinadora, while Carlos Tapia was a prominent journalist. Beatriz Alva was a congresswoman from Fujimori’s political party, while Enrique Bernales was a former senator and Special Rapporteur for the United Nations. Lieutenant General Luis Arias Graziani was a retired air force general and President Toledo’s national security advisor. Three commissioners, Monsignor José Antúndez de Mayolo, Reverend Gastón Garatea, and Pastor Humberto Lay, were religious leaders, as was the appointed observer, Monsignor Luis Bambarén Gastelmundi.14
Even after President Alejandro Toledo increased the number of commissioners to twelve from seven (adding Ames, Arias, Lay, Antúndez, Morote, and the observer Bambarén), the commissioners still reflected elite sectors of Peru least affected by the violence. All were residents of Lima, all were urban dwellers, only one spoke Quechua, only one understood it, and none self-identified as Indigenous or campesino. As Commissioner Carlos Iván Degregori later commented, “even the composition of the CVR reflected the gaps in the country” that underlay the political violence.15
Peru’s CVR also had a staff of approximately five hundred people stationed in five regional offices. These individuals did historical research; conducted interviews; and transcribed, translated, summarized, and coded testimonies. Among the CVR’s predecessors, only South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission had a larger institutional presence. The CVR’s budget was approximately thirteen million U.S. dollars, about half of which came from international donors.16
During its term, the CVR collected nearly seventeen thousand testimonies about the violence suffered between 1980 and 2000, including harrowing stories of massacres, disappearances, torture, and sexual abuse. Fifty-four percent of those who testified were women. In Ayacucho, the region where the Shining Path launched its armed struggle and that suffered the highest number of deaths, women gave 64 percent of the testimonies. The higher participation of women is most likely due to the fact that the violence disproportionately targeted men: 80 percent of the victims of death and disappearance were male.17
The CVR also held twenty-seven public hearings in which commissioners heard testimony directly. These hearings were open to the public and broadcast on radio and television, intended to educate Peruvians about the abuses of the era as well validating the victims by providing them a public forum to share their experiences. Peru’s CVR was the only Latin American truth commission to hold such public hearings. The hearings featured testimony from 422 Peruvians regarding 318 separate allegations of human rights abuses. All of those who testified publicly had previously provided private testimonies and then received an invitation to share that testimony again in a public hearing. Almost all of the public speakers were from the sectors most gravely affected by the violence: impoverished, Indigenous, or rural Peruvians. These public hearings emphasized respect: speakers were listened to, not questioned, and they were seated alongside the commissioners.18 As the Final Report explains, the CVR prioritized “listening to victims of violence, to whom the entire country owes a debt of justice and solidarity.”19
Responding to concerns from researchers and popular organizations, the CVR expressly included gender in its analytic framework. It investigated how the violence differently affected men and women; examined the significant participation of women in the Shining Path and MRTA; and it considered a broad spectrum of sexual abuse and violence that included, but was not limited to, rape.20
It is crucial to remember that survivors of the violence made decisions about what they would and would not share with the CVR. Anthropologist Kimberly Theidon observed that in many rural Ayacucho communities devastated by the violence, campesinos held local assemblies prior to the arrival of the CVR’s testimonial teams. At those assemblies, community authorities decided what local residents should say and what they should leave unsaid, lest some community members’ initial support for Shining Path militants somehow cast the community as less deserving of reparations. As Theidon notes, “There was an effort to close narrative ranks, prompted by the many secrets people keep about a lengthy fratricidal conflict and the numerous expectations a commission generates.”21 Anthropologists Caroline Yezer and Wendy Coxshall, in turn, observed marked reluctance to participate in CVR interviews inside rural Indigenous communities hard-hit by the violence.22
The CVR also conducted interviews with more than one thousand leaders and rank-and-file members of the Shining Path and MRTA. Commissioners decided against allowing any of these individuals to participate in the public hearings, concerned that they might use the public forum as an opportunity to propagandize.23
Politicians from the period, including former president Alan García, gave testimonies and participated in public hearings. Former president Fernando Belaúnde Terry was unable to do so; he died in 2002. Alberto Fujimori, in turn, refused to participate, despite a personal visit from CVR President Salomón Lerner in Japan seeking his testimony. CVR staff also interviewed some soldiers and commanders, but members of the military pointedly refused to participate in any public hearing.24
When the CVR began collecting testimonies, commissioners were aware of approximately fifty mass graves that Peruvians had previously reported to human rights organizations and the Defensoría del Pueblo (the independent national Human Rights Ombudsman) or both. By the time the CVR concluded its investigations, it had received reports of 4,664 clandestine graves. Most of these contained the remains of massacre victims. Although rural communities were aware of the graves’ existence, the dangerous political context of the 1980s and 1990s had impeded community members from reporting them.25
The CVR signed an agreement with the Peruvian Attorney General’s Office to cooperate in the exhumation of clandestine graves and the forensic examination of the remains. These exhumations provided further information about the years of violence, evidence for prosecutions, information about missing kin to family members and friends, and they allowed for the proper reburial of victims. During its two-year existence, the CVR oversaw three major exhumation projects in rural Ayacucho communities. Official exhumations continued well after the CVR’s mandate ended.26
Commissioners signed the Final Report on August 27, 2003, and presented it to President Alejandro Toledo, National Congress President Henry Pease García, and Supreme Court President Hugo Sivina Hurtado the following day. When he received the report, President Toledo offered a public apology to the victims. He stated, “I apologize, in the name of the state, to all those who suffered,” whether through death, disappearance, displacement, or any other form of victimization. He also vowed that the “painful excesses” committed by members of the security forces would be prosecuted “without shelter or impunity or abuse.”27
The CVR’s Final Report is a nine-volume analysis of the violence, totaling about eight thousand pages. It provides a searing critique of the period from 1980–2000, deeming those twenty years “a mark of horror and dishonor for the Peruvian State and society.”28 The report discusses why the violence happened, describes the scale of human rights abuses, assesses responsibility for those crimes, and provides recommendations for the future. The CVR’s central contention, as conveyed on its website, is that “A country that forgets its history is condemned to repeat it.”29 The Final Report is available in printed form, online, and in an abbreviated version (available in Spanish and English) called Hatun Willakuy, a Quechua phrase meaning Great Story.
Of the Final Report’s many conclusions, three are particularly striking. First, commissioners determined that the death toll from the years of violence was 69,280.30 This number was stunning, especially because it was more than twice as high as previous estimates. As CVR President Salomón Lerner reflected, “We Peruvians used to say, in our worst estimates, that the violence had left thirty-five thousand dead. What does it say about our political community now that we know another thirty-five thousand of our brothers and sisters were missing and we never even noticed they were gone?”31
A second stunning conclusion regarded victims’ ethnoracial and class status: 79 percent of the victims lived in rural areas, even though only 29 percent of the national population did. Seventy-five percent of the dead spoke Quechua or another Indigenous language as their first language; only 16 percent of the national population did. As CVR President Salomón Lerner noted, these victims represent “a large sector of the population that has been historically ignored—and sometimes even despised—by the State and urban society.”32 Relatedly, the violence was overwhelmingly concentrated in the most rural and Indigenous regions of the country. Forty percent of the deaths and disappearances reported to the CVR were from the department of Ayacucho, where the Shining Path launched its armed struggle. Together with those from Ayacucho, victims from the departments of Junín, Huánuco, Huancavelica, Apurímac and San Martín made up a full 85 percent of the victims.33
While the commissioners asserted that the years of violence were not an ethnic conflict, “these two decades of destruction and death would not have been possible without the profound disdain that members of the PCP-Shining Path and agents of the State alike expressed toward the country’s most marginalized population.”34 The commissioners also stressed that “the tragedy suffered by the populations of rural Peru—the Andean and jungle regions; Quechua and Asháninka Peru; the peasant, poor, and poorly educated Peru—was neither felt nor taken on as its own by the rest of the country. This demonstrates, in the CVR’s judgment, the veiled racism and scornful attitudes that persist in Peruvian society almost two centuries after its birth as a Republic.”35
A third striking conclusion involved responsibility for the violence. Commissioners determined that the PCP-Shining Path was responsible for 54 percent of the deaths reported to the CVR.36 The MRTA was responsible for 1.5 percent. State forces like the police; the Armed Forces; and peasant Self-Defense Committees, the rondas campesinas, were responsible for 37 percent of the deaths. Further parsing the latter statistic, the CVR asserted that the Armed Forces were responsible for 75 percent of these killings by state forces.37 The fact that insurgents, rather than state forces, were responsible for the majority of deaths sets the Peruvian conflict apart from other Latin American cases of mass violence, where State actors were responsible for the overwhelming number of deaths.
The CVR also asserted that “the immediate and decisive cause for the unleashing of the armed internal conflict in Peru” was the PCP-SL’s decision to “initiate a so-called ‘People’s War’ against the State.”38 Yet the CVR also stressed that the violence had long-term, historical causes. The deep inequalities that characterized Peru—between rich and poor, between Lima and rural provinces, between different regions, and between different ethnoracial groups—contributed to the conflict. As the CVR asserted, “The mixture of these inequalities and discrimination produced a growing sense of mistreatment and mistrust” by the country’s poor, rural, Indigenous peoples.39 That perception, in turn, generated sympathy and support for the Shining Path.
Importantly, the CVR commissioners issued sharp denunciations of State actors’ role in the violence. CVR President Salomón Lerner stated that “in certain times and places, the armed forces committed violations of human rights in a systematic and generalized practice.”40 Those abuses included extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture, massacres, sexual violence, as well as other crimes. Lerner explained that the CVR discovered “a double scandal: one of mass assassination, disappearance and torture, and one of laziness, ineptitude and indifference on the part of those who could have prevented this humanitarian catastrophe and did not.”41
The Final Report recommended institutional reforms such as changes to Peru’s educational system, limits on military autonomy, changes to policing, and greater controls over intelligence agencies. It also made a series of recommendations regarding individual and collective reparations, as well as judicial actions. The testimonies, documents, and photographs that drove these conclusions and recommendations are archived in the Information Center for Collective Memory and Human Rights in Lima.
The CVR’s Final Report included a Comprehensive Reparations Plan (Plan Integral de Reparaciones or PIR), in keeping with its official mandate to recommend “reparation and restoration of dignity to the victims and their relatives.”42 The PIR’s general objective was to “make amends and compensate for the violation of human rights as well as the losses or social, moral, and material damages suffered by victims as a result of the armed internal conflict.”43
The CVR listed the human rights abuses—including kidnapping, torture, forced displacement, and murder among others—whose victims should be eligible for reparations. Although the Final Report stipulates that the definition of victim “does not depend on the previous conduct of the harmed person,” it also asserts that “those persons who have been wounded, injured and killed in armed clashes and who simultaneously belonged to a subversive terrorist organization cannot be considered victims.”44
The PIR called for symbolic reparations. These could include public gestures like State apologies, official letters to victims or their relatives, and public ceremonies. Symbolic reparations could also include the creation of commemorative monuments or memory sites, as well as the permanent closure of locales linked to State violence.45
The PIR also recommended reparations to improve victims’ physical and mental health. The plan further recommended educational reparations like scholarships and tuition remissions for those whose studies were interrupted by the violence, children born of rape, and those who served on Peasant Self-Defense Committees as minors. The PIR recommended efforts to restore citizenship rights, such as granting new national ID cards for those who lacked them and clarifying the official status of disappeared persons.46
Crucially, the PIR made extensive recommendations regarding economic reparations to victims. Many of the Peruvian men and women who testified before the CVR did so with the expectation that their participation would result in compensation.47 Anthropologist Kimberly Theidon noted, “It did not matter how many times people were told they would not necessarily receive reparations for giving their testimony: giving one’s testimony was in part instrumental and it would be naïve to think otherwise. While giving testimony can be prompted by various factors, the hope of some economic relief was an important incentive.”48
When he received the CVR’s Final Report in 2003, President Alejandro Toledo pledged that reparations would be forthcoming and his government subsequently issued the Comprehensive Reparations Plan, drawing from the CVR’s recommendations. Before the government could issue reparations, it needed to determine precisely who was eligible for compensation. As such, the Toledo government initiated the creation of an official registry of victims. This registry recognized individuals and communities adversely affected by either state-sponsored violence or insurgent violence as victims, but it explicitly excluded any individual who had belonged to a subversive organization. Therefore, any person ever involved with the Shining Path or MRTA would not be considered a victim and would be ineligible for reparations, even if s/he had suffered grave human rights abuses like torture, rape, kidnapping, or assassination by state forces.49
Collective reparations projects for affected communities began in 2006, and approximately 1,600 of an eligible 5,697 communities received compensation during Alan García’s second presidential term (2006–2011). Community reparations projects included things like road construction, communal infrastructure, safe drinking water, and agricultural supports. On average, each community received about thirty-four thousand U.S. dollars of funding for reparations projects. The García government, however, made little effort to identify these projects as post-conflict reparations, and instead cast them as general development projects. Few community members were aware that the development projects were part of the reparations plan, rather than government largesse.50
Reparations have also fallen short of the CVR’s recommendations because of successive Peruvian governments’ failures to commit sufficient funds to the efforts. Peruvian human rights activists complained that the Minister of Economy and Finance refused to adequately fund reparations programs and failed to release promised monies, even though it generously funded the military. Many Peruvians were deeply angered by the continuing non-payment of reparations to individual victims. It was only in 2011 that the government began payments to individuals, compensating elderly victims first; and many Peruvian human rights activists charged that the payments were too small and that the compensation of all victims was happening far too slowly.51
Efforts for symbolic reparations have had more—if still moderate—success. In 2005, a regional Museum of Memory opened in Ayacucho, funded by the CVR, ANFASEP, and the German government. The CVR also funded a small Memory Park in Ayacucho, which features sculptures and some tributes to the victims, as well as a plaque in Ayacucho’s central plaza. In Lima, a prominent photography exhibit entitled Yuyanapaq (Quechua for “In Order To Remember”) featured images of the twenty years of conflict and narration based on the CVR’s Final Report.52
In 2009, President Alan García attempted to block a major effort at symbolic reparation by refusing a two million-dollar U.S. donation from the German government for the creation of a national “Museum of Memory” to commemorate the victims of the armed internal conflict. His refusal reflected opposition from members of Peru’s military and some civilians, who protested that the museum would be little more than a celebration of terrorism and present an unfairly critical view of the military. García’s refusal of the donation triggered heated denunciations from human rights activists, leading him to reverse his decision. The museum, however, continued to generate controversy. There was a heated debate over the museum’s location, and Peruvian Nobel-Prize winning author Mario Vargas Llosa resigned from the museum’s planning commission as a protest against García’s efforts to reintroduce amnesty laws to protect state perpetrators of human rights abuses.53 The “Lugar de la Memoria, la Tolerancia, y la Inclusión Social” (Site for Memory, Tolerance, and Social Inclusion) finally opened in 2015.54
The CVR generated tremendous controversy inside Peru. The Final Report explicitly addresses accusations against the CVR, stating “the CVR regards its mandate as an exercise that, albeit painful, is indispensable for the establishment of historical truth and it categorically rejects the claim that it intends to ‘reopen wounds,’ contribute to dissent, or inflame hatreds.”55 The most heated criticisms of the CVR came during the last stages of its work, before it even released its Final Report. Commissioner Carlos Iván Degregori later described these critiques as a “demolition campaign undertaken by sectors of the press and spokesmen of various political parties in the two months before its presentation, in essence, before seeing it.”56
One controversy surrounded the issue of reconciliation, which President Alejandro Toledo added to the Truth Commission’s mandate. The CVR defined reconciliation as “putting into action the reestablishment and reworking of the fundamental ties between Peruvians” that had deteriorated or been destroyed by the years of violence.57 That careful definition, however, did not appease Peruvians who argued that reconciliation would be tantamount to forgiving and forgetting terrorists’ crimes. Alan García declared in August 2003 that “There is no reconciliation possible with the assassins of Shining Path.” Lourdes Flores Nano, a congresswoman and presidential contender, similarly proclaimed that “With Shining Path there can be no pact, no political solution and no form of reconciliation.” Even Valentín Paniagua, who established the Truth Commission, distanced himself from the concept of reconciliation, reminding Peruvians that his government had called only for a Truth Commission.58
Some have also argued that the CVR was too narrow in its focus, upset that the Final Report did not highlight their communities’ experiences or investigate their claims. Others contend that the CVR should have discussed the forced sterilizations carried out by the Fujimori government’s Family Planning Program. Those sterilizations of over two hundred thousand predominantly impoverished women of Indigenous descent occurred without informed consent and sometimes against the women’s will, often with grave health consequences.59
Another heated controversy involved the accusation that the CVR was unduly sympathetic to the Shining Path and unfairly critical of the Peruvian military. As Commissioner Degregori recalled, “The principal criticisms of the Final Report concerned the bias against the armed forces and in favor of subversive groups.”60 Part of this controversy stemmed from the fact that the CVR’s commissioners included academics and human rights activists whom some Peruvians presumed to be political leftists. When Commissioner Sofia Macher referred to the Shining Path as a “political party” during the CVR’s term, a massive controversy ensued, as many Peruvians felt that such a casting amounted to sympathy with terrorism. A congressional committee actually summoned CVR President Lerner to justify Macher’s use of the term. Lerner did so by providing dictionary definitions of the words political and party to prove that the Shining Path could reasonably be labeled a political party.61 One Peruvian congressman nonetheless deemed the Final Report a “Marxist ploy to undermine Peru’s heroic armed forces.”62
This controversy endured despite the fact that the CVR’s Final Report established that it was the PCP-Shining Path, rather than state forces, that was responsible for the majority (54 percent) of the deaths. The Final Report also asserts that “the immediate and decisive cause for the unleashing of the armed internal conflict in Peru” was the PCP-SL’s decision to “initiate a so-called ‘People’s War’ against the State.”63 But accusations of pro-subversive/anti-military bias continued regardless.
Lieutenant General Luis Arias Graziani, the CVR’s lone military commissioner, formalized such accusations by qualifying his signature on the Final Report with an asterisk and insisting that his dissenting letter be included in the Final Report. General Arias’s letter asserts that Peruvian state forces were only doing their constitutional duty during the years of violence, risking their own lives to defend citizens against terrorists, and that they thus could not be judged in the same way as the “infamous terrorist armies.” He also asserted that the Final Report should “clearly distinguish individual responsibility from institutional responsibility.”64 The Final Report, however, is explicit on this point. It stresses the honorability of members of the armed forces and the difficulties of fighting insurgents, but it also insists that abuses were the systematic and widespread consequence of military strategy. Lieutenant General Graziani and a group of other retired soldiers subsequently published a report contesting the CVR’s conclusions about military violence.65 A retired coronel echoed that sentiment in the title of a book he published in 2006: Plot Against the Military: The CVR’s Falsehoods.66
Financial issues generated some controversy. Some victims of the violence charged that the millions used to fund the CVR’s work should instead have gone toward directly improving conditions in affected rural communities or in reparations to individual victims. Others charged that the CVR’s commissioners’ salaries were disgracefully high.67
The question of how many Peruvians died because of the violence also proved highly controversial. The CVR received reports of 23,969 deaths or disappearances, a figure largely in keeping with previous estimates of the dead. Yet the Final Report concludes that the total number of deaths was 69,280, an estimate the CVR derived through a complex statistical analysis of victim lists known as Multiple Systems Estimation.68 The CVR’s commissioners debated which numbers to include in the Final Report. As Commissioner Sofia Macher later recalled, “we decided to give the projections because we considered them to be the truth and because they would move the country.”69 Some Peruvians contest the Final Report’s numbers. In his dissenting letter, Arias Graziani charged that there were only twenty-four thousand to twenty-five thousand documented deaths and that the commission’s mathematical estimates “are not a proven truth.”70 Most scholars of Peru, however, accept the CVR’s sixty-nine thousand estimate.
Major controversies continued after the CVR submitted its Final Report. Inspired by the CVR’s Yuyanapaq photo exhibit, a Dutch sculptor built a monument in Lima’s Jesus María municipality, called El Ojo que Llora, the Eye that Cries. Erected in 2005, the monument features a large stone fountain that resembles a crying eye. That central fountain is surrounded by thousands of small rocks inscribed with the names of individuals killed by the violence, names the sculptor accessed from the CVR’s archives. In November 2006, following its ruling against the Peruvian State for the 1992 massacre of prisoners in Castro Castro prison, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered that the names of the forty-one victims—many of whom were Shining Path militants—be included at the Ojo que Llora monument. That mandate triggered outrage inside Peru, as many Peruvians felt that Shining Path militants were terrorists who could never be considered victims. When Peruvians subsequently learned that the names of many Castro Castro victims were already included in the monument, popular anger grew and intensified. The newspaper Expreso reported that “there is a monument to terrorists” that had been built “by the dreadful Truth Commission created by champagne socialists.” The municipal mayor of Jesús María similarly asserted, “we reject tributes to terrorist delinquents who committed execrable crimes.”71 The monument was vandalized in 2007; vandals attacked the central fountain and several stones with a sledgehammer and splashed the monument in the bright orange of Alberto Fujimori’s political party. The anger over the monument reflects both the debate over who can—and who cannot—count as a victim inside Peru as well as the ongoing accusation that the CVR was pro-Shining Path.72 The controversy surrounding the creation of a Memory Museum was rooted in the same concerns. As one journalist wrote, those pushing for a Memory Museum, “want, in addition to the Ojo que Llora, another sanctuary for throwing mud at the armed forces.”73
The CVR’s Final Report asserts that Peru “cannot permit impunity. Impunity is incompatible with the dignity of a democratic nation.”74 In keeping with that assertion, commissioners forwarded forty-five cases to the Peruvian Attorney General’s office (Ministerio Público) and two cases to the Peruvian Judiciary (Poder Judicial) for investigation and possible criminal trials. The Defensoría del Pueblo subsequently filed complaints in twelve additional criminal cases, as part of its official task of helping implement the CVR’s recommendations.75 The majority of these cases involved human rights abuses by Peruvian state forces, including the military and police. Such state actors were no longer shielded from prosecution by impunity laws, which the Peruvian Supreme Court nullified in 2001.76
Another major judicial shift occurred in January 2003, when Peru’s Constitutional Court followed the recommendations of both the Inter-American Court and the UN Human Rights Committee, and ruled that Fujimori’s anti-terrorism legislation was unconstitutional. All persons convicted of terrorism under that legislation were entitled to new trials in civilian courts. Following that decision, Peru’s courts began retrying individuals imprisoned as terrorists. Even Shining Path founder Abimael Guzmán received a retrial in 2004. Many Peruvians feared that the perpetrators of mass political violence would soon be free. President Alejandro Toledo himself warned that Peru, “runs the risk of having the doors opened for terrorists to be freed.”77 These fears were largely unfounded, as the majority of those retried were once again found guilty and imprisoned, although many received reduced sentences. Abimael Guzmán was again convicted, and evidence collected by the CVR was used against him. Over one hundred imprisoned Peruvians, however, were deemed innocent and released from prison.78
In addition to those who were officially pardoned, hundreds of other inmates were granted pardons without retrial. Many of those pardoned of terrorism faced significant hardship after their release from prison. Although they were now free and had their criminal records cleared, they received little or no support for the physical, mental, and economic hardships produced by their imprisonments. They also faced continued discrimination, as in 2010 when the Minister of Justice charged that the Toledo administration had “granted pardons to hundreds of proven terrorists.”79
State perpetrators of human rights abuses have largely escaped punishment by the courts. Although the Ministry of Public Affairs appointed a specific prosecutor for human rights cases, the majority of the forty-seven cases forwarded by the CVR stalled in the courts. These trials were impeded by the military’s refusal to cooperate, the long-standing inefficiencies of the Peruvian court system, and a lack of strong political will by successive Peruvian governments to pursue these cases. Civilian victims of human rights abuses from the 1980–2000 period were overwhelmingly from the most marginalized sectors of Peruvian society, yet they had to take responsibility for paying lawyers or soliciting non-governmental organizations for support. Members of State forces, in contrast, had their legal expenses paid by the government. As a result, many victims of the violence, along with Peruvian human rights activists, have been bitterly disappointed by the seeming elusiveness of justice.80
The most significant exception to these frustrated legal efforts was the trial of former president Alberto Fujimori. Although Japan refused Peruvian human rights activists’ requests to extradite Fujimori, he traveled to Chile on his own accord in 2005, likely to launch a re-election campaign. Peruvian activists again lobbied for extradition, and the Chilean Supreme Court ruled in their favor, extraditing Fujimori in 2007.81
From December 2007 until April 2009, Fujimori stood trial in Peru for human rights abuses. The charges against him involved four major cases: the 1991 Barrios Altos massacre, the 1992 killings of nine students and a professor at La Cantuta University, and the kidnappings of prominent journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer. Fujimori was also charged with abuse of authority, illegal wiretapping, bribery, and corruption. The Supreme Court found Fujimori guilty, sentenced him to twenty-five years in prison, and ordered him to pay reparations to survivors and victims’ relatives. Fujimori appealed the decision, but the verdict was upheld. Fujimori’s conviction marked the first time that a democratically elected president was extradited to his own country and sentenced for human rights violations committed while holding office.82
Human rights activists in Peru and across the world regarded Fujimori’s trial and conviction as an historic triumph, but on December 24, 2017, Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted Fujimori a humanitarian pardon and a derecho de gracias (right to pardon), to shield him from future prosecutions. Kuczynski cast the pardon as a compassionate action and a step toward reconciliation, but many Peruvians and international observers regard the pardon as an expressly political move designed to shore up Kuczynski’s presidency and protect him from impeachment.83
Just three days before issuing the pardon, Kuczynski faced an impeachment vote in Peru’s Congress on the grounds that he had ties to Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction firm involved in a massive corruption scandal. The demand for impeachment was led by the Fuerza Popular (Popular Force) party, headed by Alberto Fujimori’s daughter Keiko, who had lost the 2016 presidential election to Kuczynski by only forty-one thousand votes. As Fuerza Popular controlled the majority of Congress, the impeachment vote looked likely to succeed. Yet, in a dramatic turn of events, Kuczynski was spared from impeachment when Keiko Fujimori’s estranged brother and political rival Kenji Fujimori led ten fellow Fuerza Popular lawmakers to abstain from the vote. When Kuczynski pardoned Alberto Fujimori three days thereafter, the move seemed the result of a crass political bargain between Kenji Fujimori and Kuczynski.84
The pardon triggered outrage inside Peru. Three of Kuczynski’s government ministers, three congressional representatives from his party, and several other government officials resigned in protest.85 Hundreds of Peruvians publicly protested after Kuczynski made the announcement, and protests continued on Christmas Day. On December 28, 2017, an estimated thirty thousand Peruvians demonstrated against the pardon. Yet Peru remains a deeply divided country, and many continue to regard Alberto Fujimori as a national hero who fully deserves a pardon.86
Numerous activists soon called the legality of the pardon into question. Human rights activists have argued that Fujimori did not meet the medical requirements stipulated by Peruvian law for a humanitarian pardon. The Association Pro-Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) filed a petition before Peru’s National Criminal Court, on the grounds that Fujimori is ineligible for the derecho de gracia and that the pending prosecution against him for murders committed in 1992 by the Colina Group, known as the Pativilca case, should be allowed to proceed. APRODEH asked the court to determine whether or not the pardon violates Peru’s constitution and Peru’s obligations under international law. Human rights groups also considered petitioning Peru’s Constitutional Court and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to nullify the pardon.87
Commissioner Carlos Iván Degregori reflected that the CVR’s ultimate impact would be dependent on whether the Final Report is “able to recast the country’s intellectual and political agenda.”88 It appears that much work remains on this front.
The CVR actively publicized its work, even employing a well-established theater troupe called Yuyachkani to inform Peruvians in Lima and the country’s Andean communities about the commission’s work and the public hearings.89 Yet the CVR’s public hearings did not receive the broad television, radio, and public audiences that commissioners had hoped for. In addition, the Final Report did not receive extensive media coverage in Peru and has not been widely read by Peruvians, including government officials. Some scholars argue that the Final Report is too academic and therefore largely inaccessible to general Peruvian readers.90
The CVR did work to disseminate its findings in other ways. It sponsored the photography exhibit Yuyanapaq, Quechua for “In Order to Remember,” which offers a powerful visual commentary on the armed internal conflict, featuring compelling images of the violence and its terrible human consequences. As CVR President Salomón Lerner explained, the Yuyanapaq photographs served to place the “faces of suffering” before the eyes of the Peruvian nation.91 The CVR also published an abbreviated version of the Final Report called Hatun Willakuy, which CVR President Salomón Lerner described as “part of the CVR’s dissemination strategy, aimed at raising awareness and challenging the prevailing indifference of Peruvian society to our collective tragedy and its consequences.”92
Without question, the CVR’s work galvanized Peru’s civil society. Commissioner Sofia Macher stressed that the CVR spurred victims to organize: there were only a handful of victims’ associations in Peru when the CVR began its work, but there were more than two hundred such organizations by the time commissioners submitted their Final Report.93
An energized civil society, however, was insufficient for preventing the return—or near return—to power of political and military figures sharply criticized by the CVR. The CVR’s Final Report, for example, documented extensive human rights abuses committed during Alan García’s 1985–1990 presidency, yet Peruvians returned García to the presidency for a second term in 2006. García’s successor, Ollanta Humala, served in Peru’s military during the years of violence and had been accused of involvement in torture and disappearances. Peru’s next president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, served as a Minister in Fernando Belaúnde Terry’s government during the first years of the violence. Most alarming to many Peruvian human rights activists, Alberto Fujimori’s daughter Keiko Fujimori very nearly won the 2011 and 2016 presidential elections, having previously pledged to release her father from prison.94
As political scientist Rebecca Root has noted, Peru’s CVR was a tremendous success if it is judged strictly in terms of its official mandate.95 Scholars of Peru and journalists routinely rely on the Final Report’s conclusions about the years of violence, particularly the CVR’s estimates of the death toll, the socioeconomic backgrounds of the victims, and the determination that the Shining Path was responsible for the majority of the deaths. The CVR not only established the truth about the two decades of violence, it also provided comprehensive recommendations for reforms, prosecutions, and reparations that could begin the process of reconciliation. Yet many of the CVR’s conclusions remain highly contested inside Peru, particularly in relation to abuses perpetrated by State actors. The CVR also generated popular expectations for justice, compensation, and sociopolitical transformation that were far beyond the limits of its official mandate. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that many Peruvians proved bitterly disappointed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Discussion of the Literature
Historian Ponciano del Pino observed that in the ten years following the CVR’s submission of the Final Report, “the discussion of its proposals and recommendations has been quite limited.”96 Del Pino’s frank assessment of the limited popular and political attention garnered by the Final Report does not apply to the realm of academic writing, as there have been several insightful studies of the commission and its work. The Final Report also contains countless observations that demand further investigation, making it a seminal resource for scholars of Peru.
Political scientist Rebecca Root’s 2012 book Transitional Justice in Peru is a comprehensive study of the CVR, tracing the commission’s emergence, work, and impact. It is likely to stand as the definitive general examination of the CVR. Her study complements thoughtful reflections on the CVR written by former commissioners, including Salomón Lerner, Sofia Macher, Carlos Iván Degregori, and Eduardo González Cueva.97
Several scholars have carefully analyzed the CVR’s production of historical truths, showing how the Truth Commission crafted a narrative of innocent victimhood that does not fully capture the complexities of Peru’s fratricidal conflict. Ponciano del Pino notes that truth commissions, war crimes tribunals, and non-governmental human rights organizations “form part of a growing post-conflict industry” that generates particular accounts about transitional justice and victimhood that often do not fit neatly with the messy realities of civil conflicts.98 Anthropologists and historians have challenged such narratives in the Peruvian case, showing the complex political sympathies that rural Indigenous Peruvians held before, during and after the violence of the 1980–2000 period.99 As anthropologist Kimberly Theidon notes, “To be a ‘good victim’ now requires disavowing political protagonism in the past. I believe the discourse of innocence paralyzes the process of reconciliation in Peru.”100
Several anthropologists who conducted fieldwork in rural communities affected by the violence directly observed community members’ responses to the CVR’s work, showing campesinos’ perspectives about, and strategies toward the CVR.101 Relatedly, a number of scholars have investigated alternative approaches to truth-telling inside Peru, paying particular attention to artists’ efforts to make sense of Peru’s troubled history. Historian Cynthia Milton edited an important collection of essays on this subject, Art From a Fractured Past: Memory and Truth-Telling in Post-Shining Path Peru. There have also been studies about Peruvian literature, photography, artisanal production, sculpture, and theater during and after the violence.102 Many of these studies draw on the extensive theoretical literature about memory and commemoration.
Scholars in the field of gender studies have done outstanding work in relation to the CVR. Jelke Boesten provides an extensive consideration of the meanings of war and post-war sexual violence in Peru, as well as official and popular responses to that violence.103 There have also been several careful considerations of the CVR’s approach to issues of sexual violence, including reflections on the ethics of posing questions about rape, the underreporting of sexual violence, and the limitations of the CVR’s analytical methodology. There are highly critical discussions of the Fujimori government’s sterilization program, which some argue should have been considered by the CVR, as well as gender-based analyses of the Integral Reparations Plan’s shortcomings.104
There have also been several studies of the CVR’s reparations plan. Scholars have compared and contrasted the CVR’s recommendations with successive governments’ work, showing the difficulties and problems of implementing reparations that fully meet victims’ expectations and entitlements.105 Unfortunately, there have been few scholarly analyses of Peru’s reparations efforts under President Ollanta Humala (2011–2016) or the government under Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016–), so it is difficult to assess more recent reparations efforts.
Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been studied extensively in and of itself, but the CVR’s rich—and deeply troubling—findings will no doubt continue spurring new research for decades. To give just a few examples, the Final Report chronicles the devastating experiences of violence and forced recruitment suffered by the Asháninka peoples during the years of violence, but there have been few scholarly investigations of Asháninka people’s wartime history.106 The Final Report also establishes that the MRTA was responsible for 1.5 percent of the conflict deaths, yet there is not yet a book-length investigation of the organization.107 The CVR also documented patterns of insurgent and counterinsurgent violence against sexual minorities in Peru, yet studies of the experiences of Peruvian LGBTQ citizens remain scarce.108 The Final Report likewise established that children were systematically recruited into insurgent ranks, but it remains for scholars to fully consider the experiences and post-war adaptations of these child soldiers.
The key primary source for studying Peru’s CVR is the Truth Commission’s nine-volume Final Report. The full report is available online, as well as in printed form. The CVR’s main findings and conclusions also appear in the abbreviated version of the Final Report called Hatun Willakuy, available online in both Spanish and English.109
The CVR published the photographs from the Yuyanapaq photo exhibit as a book, and the collection is also freely available online.110
The testimonies, documents, and photographs that drove these conclusions are archived in the Information Center for Collective Memory and Human Rights in Lima. The CVR’s official mandate included the creation of an archive to house all of the materials collected by the commission. The Defensoría del Pueblo (National Ombudsman) was to be in charge of this archive and strictly regulate access to all testimonies and documents. These testimonies and documents contain highly sensitive information about—and accusations against—politicians, members of the armed forces and police, as well as civilians during years of fratricidal conflict, and there could be risk to many Peruvians if those materials are made public. At the same time, however, these testimonies and documents contain invaluable historical and sociopolitical information and their careful preservation is essential. In addition, all persons who testified before the CVR were given the option of anonymity, with their testimonies accorded only a numerical code rather than a name.111
The Information Center for Collective Memory and Human Rights opened in April 2004, operated by the Defensoría del Pueblo. The archive is open to researchers and members of the public free of charge, including free photocopies of materials and compact disc recordings of testimonies. The archive also holds approximately seventeen hundred historical photographs that the CVR collected as part of its investigation. To access these archival materials, individuals must first visit the archive and complete an application form.112
For a consideration of artists’ alternative efforts at truth-telling, Chungui: Violencia y trazos de memoria by anthropologist and artist Edilberto Jiménez is a remarkable source. The book is a collection of testimonies about the armed internal conflict from campesinos in Chungui, a region of Ayacucho hard-hit by the violence. Each testimony excerpt is illustrated by Jiménez, who is himself a Quechua-speaking Ayacuchan.113
Links to Digital Materials
- Boesten, Jelke. Sexual Violence during War and Peace: Gender, Power, and Post-Conflict Justice in Peru. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
- Burt, Jo-Marie. “Guilty as Charged: The Trial of Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for Human Rights Violations.” International Journal for Transitional Justice 3 (2009): 384–405.
- Coxshall, Wendy. “From the Peruvian Reconciliation Commission to Ethnography: Narrative, Relatedness, and Silence.” PoLar 28 (November 2005): 203–222.
- Degregori, Carlos Iván. Qué difícil es ser Dios: El Partido Comunista del Perú-Sendero Luminoso y el conflicto armado interno en el Perú: 1980–1999. Lima, Peru: IEP, 2011.
- Drinot, Paulo. “For Whom the Eye Cries: Memory, Monumentality, and the Ontologies of Violence in Peru.” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 18 (2009): 15–32.
- Friedman, Rebekka. Competing Memories: Truth and Reconciliation in Sierra Leone and Peru. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Gianella Malca, Camila. “Peru: Changing Contexts for Transitional Justice.” In After Violence: Transitional Justice, Peace and Democracy. Edited by Elin Skaar, Camila Gianella Malca, and Trine Eide, 94–124. New York: Routledge, 2015.
- González, Olga. Unveiling Secrets of War in the Peruvian Andes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.
- González Cueva, Eduardo “The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Challenge of Impunity.” In Transitional Justice in the Twenty- First Century, Beyond Truth Versus Justice. Edited by Naomi Roht-Arriaza and Javier Mariezcurrena, 70–93. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
- Laplante, Lisa. “The Peruvian Truth Commission’s Historical Memory Project: Empowering Truth-Tellers to Confront Truth Deniers.” Journal of Human Rights 6 (2007): 433–452.
- Laplante, Lisa J., and Kimberly Theidon. “Truth with Consequences: Justice and Reparations in Post-Truth Commission Peru.” Human Rights Quarterly 29, no. 1 (February 2007): 228–250.
- Milton, Cynthia. “At the Edge of the Peruvian Truth Commission: Alternative Paths to Recounting the Past.” Radical History Review 98 (Spring 2007): 3–33.
- Milton, Cynthia, ed. Art from a Fractured Past: Memory and Truth-Telling in Post-Shining Path Peru. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014.
- Onis, Paco de, and Pamela Yates. State of Fear: The Truth about Terrorism. New York: Skylight Pictures, 2005.
- del Pino, Ponciano, ed. No hay mañana sin ayer: Batallas por la memoria y consolidación democrática en el Perú. Lima, Peru: IEP, 2015.
- del Pino, Ponciano, and Caroline Yezer, eds. Las formas del recuerdo: Etnografías de la violencia política en el Perú. Lima, Peru: IEP, 2013.
- Root, Rebecca. Transitional Justice in Peru. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012.
- Saona, Margarita. Memory Matters in Transitional Peru. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.
- Theidon, Kimberly. Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.
- Yezer, Caroline. “Who Wants to Know? Rumors, Suspicions, and Opposition to Truth-telling in Ayacucho.” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 3, no. 3 (2008): 271–289.
1. Interim President Valentín Paniagua established the Truth Commission in June 2001 by a Decree Law. Once he assumed the presidency, Alejandro Toledo ratified the commission’s creation in July 2001 and added the term Reconciliation to its name.
2. Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación del Perú (CVR), Informe final, vol. 1, “Introducción,” 26.
3. Rebecca Root, Transitional Justice in Peru (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012), 3–4; and Greg Grandin and Thomas Miller Klubock, “Editors’ Introduction: Truth Commissions: State Terror, History, and Memory,” Radical History Review 97 (2007): 2.
4. Enrique Mayer, “Peru in Deep Trouble: Mario Vargas Llosa’s ‘Inquest in the Andes’ Reexamined,” Cultural Anthropology 6, no. 4 (November 1991): 466–504.
5. Root, Transitional Justice, 44–45. Joseph P. Feldman, “Exhibiting Conflict: History and Politics at the Museo de la Memoria de ANFASEP in Ayacucho,” Anthropological Quarterly 85, no. 2 (2012): 492; Thomas Pegram, “Accountability in Hostile Times: The Case of the Peruvian Human Rights Ombudsman 1996–2001,” Journal of Latin American Studies 40, no. 1 (2008): 51–82; CVR, Informe final, 20; Ponciano del Pino, “Presentación,” in No hay mañana sin ayer: batallas por la memoria y consolidación democrática en el Perú, edited by Ponciano del Pino (Lima: IEP, 2015), 12; and Jo-Marie Burt, “Guilty as Charged: The Trial of Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for Human Rights Violations,” International Journal of Transitional Justice 3 (November 2009): 389.
6. Kimberly Theidon, Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 80.
7. Root, Transitional Justice, 46.
8. Lisa Laplante, “The Peruvian Truth Commission’s Historical Memory Project: Empowering Truth-Tellers to Confront Truth Deniers,” Journal of Human Rights 6 (2007): 435.
9. Root, Transitional Justice, 53–54.
10. Peru had withdrawn from the Inter-American court under Fujimori but returned under Interim President Paniagua.
11. CVR, Informe final, Vol. 1, “Introducción,” 44; Eduardo González Cueva, “The Contribution of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission to Prosecutions,” Criminal Law Forum (March 2004): 57; Root, Transitional Justice, 65–66; and Burt, “Guilty as Charged,” 390.
12. Root, Transitional Justice, 74.
13. Eduardo González Cueva, “The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Challenge of Impunity,” in Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century, Beyond Truth Versus Justice, ed. Naomi Roht-Arriaza and Javier Mariezcurrena (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 78.
14. Root, Transitional Justice, 73–74.
15. Carlos Iván Degregori, Qué difícil es ser Dios: El Partido Comunista del Perú-Sendero Luminoso y el conflicto armado interno en el Perú: 1980–1999 (Lima, Peru: IEP, 2011), 282, n. 19.
16. González Cueva, “The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” 70, 91, n1; Root, Transitional Justice, 75; and Theidon, Intimate Enemies, 24.
17. CVR, Informe final, vol. 8, Chapter 2.1, 48–50.
18. Root, Transitional Justice, 76–77.
19. CVR, Informe final, vol. 1, “Introducción,” 33.
20. CVR, Informe final, vol. 1, Chap. 2.1. See also Jelke Boesten, Sexual Violence during War and Peace: Gender, Power, and Post-Conflict Justice in Peru (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
21. Theidon, Intimate Enemies, 109.
22. Caroline Yezer, “Who Wants to Know? Rumors, Suspicions, and Opposition to Truth-telling in Ayacucho,” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 3, no. 3 (2008): 271–289.
23. Root, Transitional Justice, 80–82.
24. Root, Transitional Justice, 82–85.
25. Carlos Iván Degregori, “Sobre la Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación en el Perú,” in No hay mañana sin ayer: Batallas por la memoria y consolidación democrática en el Perú, ed. Ponciano del Pino (Lima, Peru: IEP, 2015), 37; and Root, Transitional Justice, 86.
26. González Cueva, “The Contribution of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” 62; Root, Transitional Justice, 86; Isaias Rojas-Perez, “Death in Transition: The Truth Commission and the Politics of Reburial in Postconflict Peru,” Necropolitics: Mass Graves and Exhumations in the Age of Human Rights, ed. Francisco Ferrándiz and Antonius C. G. M. Robben (Pittsburgh: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 196.
27. Root, Transitional Justice, 91.
28. CVR, Informe final, vol. 1, “Prefacio,” 13.
30. CVR, Informe final, vol. 8, “Conclusiones Generales,” 315.
31. Theidon, Intimate Enemies, 7.
32. CVR, Informe final, vol. 8, “Conclusiones Generales,” 316. Lerner's comment appears on the CVR's Speeches page.
33. CVR, Informe final, “Conclusiones Generales,” 315–316.
34. CVR, Informe final, vol. 1, “Prefacio,” 13.
35. CVR, Informe final, vol. 8, “Conclusiones Generales,” 316.
36. It is worth noting that this percentage drops to 46 percent when using the estimated death toll of 69,280, rather than strictly the deaths reported to the CVR. Informe Final, Appendix 2, 17.
37. CVR, Hatun Willakuy: Abbreviated Version of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Peru (Lima, Peru: Transfer Commission of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru, 201), 13.
38. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 8, Chap. 1, 13.
39. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 8, Chap. 1, 22.
40. Salomón Lerner Febres, “Discurso de Presentación del Informe Final de la Comisión de la Verdad Reconciliación.” Lerner made this speech when delivering the Final Report to President Toledo.
42. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 9, Chap. 2.2, 139, 142.
43. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 9, Chap. 2.2, 147.
44. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 9, Chap. 2.2, 149.
45. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 9, Chap. 2.2, 161–167.
46. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 9, Chap. 2.2, 168–178, 182–188.
47. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 9, Chap. 2.2, 188–201; Degregori, “Sobre la Comisión,” 39–40.
48. Theidon, Intimate Enemies, 109.
49. Root, Transitional Justice, 91, 131. The registry is the Registro Único de Víctimas.
50. Root, Transitional Justice, 136–137.
51. Lisa J. Laplante and Kimberly Theidon, “Truth with Consequences: Justice and Reparations in Post-Truth Commission Peru,” Human Rights Quarterly 29, no. 1 (February 2007): 247; and Root, Transitional Justice, 139.
52. Feldman, “Exhibiting Conflict,” 487–518; Tamia Portugal Teillier, “Batallas por el reconocimiento: lugares de memoria en el Perú,” in No hay mañana sin ayer: Batallas por la memoria y consolidación democrática en el Perú, ed. Ponciano del Pino (Lima, Peru: IEP, 2015), 71–238.
53. Portugal Teillier, “Batallas por el reconocimiento,” 205–238; and Feldman, “Exhibiting Conflict,” 487–488.
55. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 1, “Introducción,” 30.
56. Degregori, Qué difícil es ser Dios, 284–285.
57. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 1, “Introducción,” 36.
58. Theidon, Intimate Enemies, 324.
59. Cynthia Milton, “At the Edge of the Peruvian Truth Commission: Alternative Paths to Recounting the Past,” Radical History Review 98 (Spring 2007): 14; Laplante, “Peruvian Truth,” 446; Jocelyn Getgen, “Untold Truths: The Exclusion of the Enforced Sterilizations from the Peruvian Truth Commission’s Final Report,” Boston College Third World Law Journal 29, no. 1 (Winter 2009): 1; and González Cueva, “The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” 78.
60. Degregori, Qué difícil es ser Dios, 180.
61. Theidon, Intimate Enemies, 324.
62. Root, Transitional Justice, 93.
63. CVR, Informe Final, vol. 8, Chap. 1, 13.
64. CVR, Informe Final, Tomo VIII, Carta General Luis Arias Graziani.
65. Root, Transitional Justice, 93.
66. Milton, “Art from Peru’s Fractured Past,” in Art from a Fractured Past: Memory and Truth-Telling in Post-Shining Path Peru, ed. Cynthia Milton (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014), 29 no. 43; and Cynthia Milton, “Curating Memories of Armed State Actors in Peru’s Era of Transitional Justice,” Memory Studies 8, no. 3(2015): 361–378.
67. Milton, “At the Edge,” 14; and Lisa Laplante and Kelly Phenicie, “Media, Trials and Truth Commissions: ‘Mediating’ Reconciliation in Peru’s Transitional Justice Process,” International Journal of Transitional Justice 4 (2010): 216.
68. CVR, Hatun Willakuy, 12.
69. Root, Transitional Justice, 88–89.
70. CVR, Informe Final, Tomo VIII, Carta General Luis Arias Graziani.
71. Paulo Drinot, “For Whom the Eye Cries: Memory, Monumentality, and the Ontologies of Violence in Peru,” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 18 (2009): 16–17.
72. Drinot, “For Whom the Eye Cries,” 15–32; Katherine Hite, “‘The Eye that Cries’: The Politics of Representing Victims in Contemporary Peru,” A Contracorriente 5, no. 1 (Fall 2007): 108–134; and Cynthia Milton, “Defacing memory: (Un)tying Peru’s memory knots,” Memory Studies 4, no. 2: 190–205.
73. Portugal Teillier, “Batallas por el reconocimiento,” 215.
74. CVR, Informe final, vol. 1, “Prefacio,” 14.
75. Burt, “Guilty as Charged,” 394.
76. Root, Transitional Justice, 64, 109, 188 n. 26.
77. Root, Transitional Justice, 103.
78. Root, Transitional Justice, 102–104.
79. Root, Transitional Justice, 108.
80. Laplante, “Peruvian Truth,” 443–444; Camila Gianella Malca, “Peru: Changing Contexts for Transitional Justice,” in After Violence: Transitional Justice, Peace and Democracy, ed. Elin Skaar, Camila Gianella Malca, and Trine Eide (New York: Routledge, 2015), 113; Laplante and Theidon, “Truth with Consequences,” 244; and Root, Transitional Justice, 109, 111.
81. Burt, “Guilty as Charged,” 395.
82. Gianella Malca, “Peru: Changing Contexts,” 113; Root, Transitional Justice, 112, 123; and Burt, “Guilty as Charged,” 384.
83. Jo-Marie Burt, “A Deal with the Devil: The Fujimori Pardon,” NACLA (January 5, 2018).
84. “The Presidential Hostage,” The Economist (January 4, 2018).
85. “The Presidential Hostage,” The Economist (January 4, 2018).
86. Jo-Marie Burt, “A Deal with the Devil: The Fujimori Pardon,” NACLA (January 5, 2018).
87. Jo-Marie Burt, “A Deal with the Devil: The Fujimori Pardon,” NACLA (January 5, 2018).
88. Degregori, Qué difícil es ser Dios, 286.
89. Francine A’ness, “Resisting Amnesia: Yuyachkani, Performance, and the Postwar Reconstruction of Peru,” Theatre Journal 56 (2004): 397.
90. Laplante, “Peruvian Truth,” 444, 446; and Laplante and Phenicie, “Media, Trials and Truth Commissions,” 218.
91. Deborah Poole and Isaías Rojas Pérez, “Memories of Reconciliation: Photography and Memory in Postwar Peru,” e-Misférica 7, no. 2.
92. CVR, Hatun Willakuy, 2.
93. Root, Transitional Justice, 91.
94. Root, Transitional Justice, 127.
95. Root, Transitional Justice, 97.
96. Ponciano del Pino, “Introducción: etnografías e historias de la violencia,” in Las formas del recuerdo: etnografías de la violencia política en el Perú, ed. Ponciano del Pino and Caroline Yezer (Lima, Peru: IEP, 2013), 18.
97. Salomón Lerner, “Ten Years Later,” in CVR, Hatun Willakuy, 1–3; Sofía Macher, “Los Procesos nacionales de reparaciones,” in Las Reparaciones a las víctimas de la violencia en Colombia y Perú: Retos y perspectivas, ed. Iris Jave, 59–65 (Lima, Peru: Instituto de Democracia y Derechos Humanos de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2008); Qué difícil es ser Dios, 275–286; Degregori, “Sobre la Comisión,” 27–70; González Cueva, “The Contribution of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” 55–66; and Eduardo González Cueva, “The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Challenge of Impunity,” 70–93.
98. del Pino, “Introducción,” 19. See also, Ponciano del Pino, “Memorias para el reconocimiento,” in No hay mañana sin ayer: Batallas por la memoria y consolidación democrática en el Perú, ed. Ponciano del Pino (Lima, Peru: IEP, 2015), 13.
99. Ronald Berg, “Sendero Luminoso and the Peasantry of Andahuaylas,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 28 (4): 165–196; Jaymie Patricia Heilman, Before the Shining Path: Politics in Rural Ayacucho, 1895–1980 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010); Miguel La Serna, The Corner of the Living: Ayacucho on the Eve of the Shining Path Insurgency (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012); Ponciano del Pino, “‘En busca del gobierno’: Comunidad, política, y la producción de la memoria y los silencios en Ayacucho, Perú, siglo XX,” (PhD diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2008); and Lewis Taylor, Shining Path: Guerrilla War in Peru’s Northern Highlands, 1980–1997 (Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2006).
100. Kimberly Theidon, “Histories of Innocence: Postwar Stories in Peru,” in Localizing Transitional Justice: Interventions and Priorities after Mass Violence, ed. Rosalind Shaw and Lars Waldorf, with Pierre Hazan (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010), 105.
101. Theidon, Intimate Enemies; Yezer, “Who Wants to Know?”; and Wendy Coxshall, “From the Peruvian Reconciliation Commission to Ethnography,” PoLar 28 (November 2005): 203–222.
102. Poole and Rojas, “Memories of Reconciliation”; Olga González, Unveiling Secrets of War in the Peruvian Andes (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); María Eugenia Ulfe, “Dos veces muerto: La historia de la imagen y vida de Celestino Ccente o Edmundo Camana,” Memoria y sociedad (January–July 2013): 81–90; Kaitlin M. Murphy, “What the Past Will Be: Curating Memory in Peru’s Yuyanapaq: Para Recordar,” Human Rights Review 16 (2015): 23–38; Margarita Saona, Memory Matters in Transitional Peru (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014); Francine A’ness, “Resisting Amnesia: Yuyachkani, Performance, and the Postwar Reconstruction of Peru,” Theatre Journal 56 (2004): 395–414; Anne Lambright, Andean Truths: Transitional Justice, Ethnicity, and Cultural Production in Post-Shining Path Peru (Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2015); and Edward Chauca, “Mental Illness in Peruvian Narratives of Violence after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Latin American Research Review 51, no. 2 (2016): 67–85.
103. Boesten, Sexual Violence.
104. Theidon, Intimate Enemies, 103–142; Jocelyn Getgen, “Untold Truths: The Exclusion of the Enforced Sterilizations from the Peruvian Truth Commission’s Final Report,” Boston College Third World Law Journal 29, no. 1 (Winter 2009): 1–34; Pascha Bueno-Hansen, “Engendering Transitional Justice: Reflections on the Case of Peru,” Journal of Peacebuilding and Development 5, no. 3 (2010): 61–74; and Julie Guillerot, “Linking Gender and Reparations in Peru: A Failed Opportunity,” in What Happened to the Women: Gender and Reparations for Human Rights Violations, ed. Ruth Rubio-Marín (New York: Social Science Research Council, 2006), 136–193.
105. Lisa J. Laplante and Kimberly Theidon, “Truth with Consequences: Justice and Reparations in Post-Truth Commission Peru,” Human Rights Quarterly 29, no. 1 (February 2007): 228–250; Ruth Rubio-Marín, Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey, and Julie Guillerot, “Indigenous Peoples and Claims for Reparation: Tentative Steps in Peru and Guatemala,” in Identities in Transition: Challenges for Transitional Justice in Divided Societies, ed. Paige Arthur (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 17–53; Julia Paulson, “Truth Commissions and National Curricula: The Case of Recordandonos in Peru,” in Children and Transitional Justice: Truth Telling, Accountability, and Reconciliation, ed. Sharanjeet Parmar et al. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law School, 2010), 327–364; Root, Transitional Justice, 129–150; and Gianella Malca, “Peru: Changing Contexts,” 110–113.
106. Two early studies of Asháninka experiences of the armed internal conflict are Ponciano del Pino, “Family, Culture, and Revolution,” in Shining and Other Paths: War and Society in Peru, 1980–1995, ed. Steve J. Stern (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998), 158–192; and Nelson Manrique, “The War for the Central Sierra,” in Shining and Other Paths, 193–223.
107. Historian Miguel La Serna is currently writing a book about the MRTA.
108. Boesten, Sexual Violence, 80.
110. CVR, Yuyanapaq = Para recordar: relato visual del conflict armado interno en el Perú, 1980–2000 (Lima, Peru: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2003).
111. Carlos Aguirre, “¿De quién son estas memorias? El archivo de la Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación del Perú,” Jahrbuch für Geschicte Lateinamerikas 46 (2009): 137–139.
112. Aguirre, “¿De quién son estas memorias?” 139, 145.
113. Edilberto Jiménez, Chungui: Violencia y trazos de memoria, 2nd ed. (Lima, Peru: IEP, 2009).