The initial ruling to reject the extradition of Peruvian ex-president Alberto Fujimori is a serious blow to efforts towards fighting impunity and holding leaders legally accountable, said Transparency International (TI).
Although the Chilean Supreme Court still has the last word, judge Orlando Alvarez’s first decision denying Peru’s extradition request and dismissal of all twelve charges of corruption and human rights abuses, means Fujimori is one step closer to evading trial in his home country. This comes after the Supreme Court Prosecutor’s recently issued recommendation to extradite Fujimori. Transparency International is increasingly concerned that Fujimori’s case will remain without a trial as it has since he fled Peru in 2000.
“Judge Alvarez’s decision creates a chance for impunity if Peru is not able to bring Fujimori home and try him in a due process. We hope that the full Supreme Court will uphold the prosecutor’s recommendation and allow the evidence to speak for itself in a Peruvian court,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.
TI urges the Supreme Court to consider the serious allegations made against Fujimori along with the evidence presented and grant extradition so that he can answer to these allegations and face trial in Peru.
“The very idea that a leader can simply leave the country where he is accused of stealing millions and committing atrocities so as not to face justice is astonishing. Fujimori should have to answer these allegations and the Chilean court should give Peru an opportunity to try him,” said Cecilia Blondet, Executive Director of Proética, the TI chapter in Peru.
In an unprecedented action in 2006, the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), a global gathering of more than 1.300 representatives from 130 countries dedicated to fighting corruption passed a motion urging the Chilean court to take the last step in the due process of extradition and return the former president to Peru. This motion echoes the voice of the Peruvian people who are claiming that Fujimori return not for election but for justice.
The recent turn of events, with Fujimori running for office in Japan, the country that provided a safe harbour from justice when he fled Peru in the midst of a corruption scandal in 2000, is a troubling and discouraging development.
Note to editors:
The 12th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), is a biannual conference that brings together high level representatives from the public, private and civil society spheres to engage in a proactive debate to find solutions to the problem of corruption. The 13th IACC will take place in 2008.
Transparency International is the Secretariat to the International Anti-Corruption Council, which oversees the Conference Series.
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