Peru protests: one year later

Luis Flores SolĂ­s

A year after the height of a protest wave that swept Peru, demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, we finally see an initial step toward justice for the some 50 slain by security forces in the repression unleashed by her regime. On Jan. 6, Judicial Power, Peru’s justice department, ordered the “preventative detention” of Joe Erik Torres LovĂłn, an officer of the National Police, as he is investigated in the slaying of a Cuzco youth, Rosalino Florez Valverde, last January. (El PaĂ­s)

On the other hand, there is outrage that Luis Flores Solís, a National Police general and a former agent of the elite Special Intelligence Group (GEIN), has been named as the new chief of the Counter-Terrorist Directorate (DIRCOTE)—despite the fact that he is under internal investigation by the police force in connection with the killing of protesters in Andahuaylas. (Wayka)

Meanwhile, Pedro Castillo, the president whose removal from power and replacement by Boluarte in December 2022 sparked the protest wave, remains imprisoned on pre-trial detention orders. (Al Jazeera) But on Dec. 6, ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori, who was serving a 25-year term for corruption and human rights abuses, was released from Lima’s Barbadillo prison on order of the Constitutional Tribunal, Peru’s highest court. The ruling reinstated a contentious 2017 pardon on supposed humanitarian grounds. The octogenarian former strongman was released in defiance of a 2018 ruling of  the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR). The Inter-American Court ordered Peru Dec. 5 “to refrain from implementing the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling,” pending an IACHR review of the pardon.

“Fujimori’s release is a slap in the face to victims of atrocities,” said Juanita Goebertus, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “The [Organization of American States] should examine the release in the context of very serious erosion of the rule of law and the protection of human rights in Peru.” (Al Jazeera, HRW)

Photo: Wayka

  1. Peru prosecutor requests 34-year prison term for Castillo

    Prosecutors from Peru’s Public Ministry requested a sentence of 34 years in prison Jan. 12 for former President Pedro Castillo, who is currently in detention on charges of rebellion and conspiracy against the state (Jurist)

  2. Peru police search home of president amid enrichment scandal

    Peruvian Public Ministry and Division of Investigation of High Complexity Crimes (DIVIAC) agents carried out a search operation at President Dina Boluarte’s residence and the Government Palace the night of March 29 as part of their investigations into the Rolex Case.

    On March 18, the Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated preliminary proceedings against the president for alleged crimes of illicit enrichment and failure to declare assets. This action was prompted by a report from an independent media organization, which noted that Boluarte had been seen wearing up to three Rolex watches at various official events. The initial prices of these watches range from $6,000 to $20,000, according to collectors.

    The judicial order issued by Supreme Judge Checkley Soria authorized the search operation based on evidence including a statement from the manager of Casa Banchero—the only Peruvian official distributor of Rolex watches—denying Boluarte had purchased the watches from his establishment. 

    The order stated that despite Boluarte’s statements of willingness to cooperate with the investigations, she obstructed previous proceedings by failing to appear for questioning and refusing to exhibit the watches on the scheduled date.

    The search of the president’s residence lasted for more than five hours, during which doors had to be forced for entry, and some assets were seized. Subsequently, the agents and the prosecutorial team went to the Government Palace to continue the operation, which lasted until 9 AM the next morning.

    The presidency stated that it provided all necessary assistance for the operation. The Public Prosecutor’s Office did not provide further details.

    Prime Minister Gustavo AdrianzĂ©n described the operation as an “affront to the dignity of the President.” In a press conference, the prime minister stated that the search was “disproportionate, unjustified, illegal and unconstitutional.” 

    Following the raids, various congress-members expressed support for a potential presidential vacancy and for advancing the elections. (Jurist)

  3. Peru prosecutor orders Boluarte to present any Rolex watches

    The Peruvian Prosecutor’s Office on March 30 ordered President Dina Boluarte to present all Rolex watches in her possession amid the ongoing corruption investigation. (Jurist)

  4. Peru Congress rejects motions to impeach President Boluarte

    Peru’s Congress rejected proposals to begin impeachment proceedings against President Dina Boluarte twice on April 4. If either motion had been confirmed, the presidency would have become vacant, as established by Article 113.2 of the Peruvian Constitution. The motions failed to win the 40% of Congress members required by Article 89A of the Rules of the Congress of the Republic. (Jurist)