Peru: still no justice in Bagua massacre

Juan José Quispe, attorney with Peru’s independent Pro-Human Rights Association representing survivors of last June’s Bagua massacre, issued a statement Feb. 26 protesting Defense Minister Rafael Rey’s proposal for an internal military hearing instead of a trial on homicide charges for two generals of the Peruvian National Police (PNP) accused of ordering the violence. The generals, Luis Muguruza and Javier Uribe, have been formally charged with the deaths of four indigenous residents in the June 5 confrontation at Curva del Diablo, a stretch of road in Bagua, Amazonas department, where police opened fire on protesters. It is now believed that 34 were killed in the incident. Quispe said Rey sought to protect the generals’ “impunity.”

Both Quispe and Saúl Puerta, leader of Peru’s Amazonian indigenous alliance AIDESEP also objected to Rey’s statement that the police at Bagua had acted to maintain order in the face of “rebellious violence advocates” (violentistas revoltosos). (Servindi, Prensa Latina, Feb. 26)

Earlier this month, a prosecutor in Utcubamba brought homicide charges against Muguruza, former head of the PNP’s Special Operations Directorate (DIROES), and Uribe, along with four subordinates. By official toll, 12 police and 10 civilians were killed in the Bagua violence (a toll rejected by indigenous advocates as both too low and skewed in favor of the police). (EFE, Feb. 11)

Two indigenous protesters charged with the deaths of police at Bagua, Feliciano Cahuasa and Danny López, remain behind bars despite forensic investigations that determined neither had used firearms in the confrontation. No police have been detained in connection with the massacre. (IPS, Feb. 19)

Initial charges against Muguruza and Uribe were overturned by a judge last September, but an internal PNP probe of the two generals’ role in the massacre was plagued by irregularities.

See our last post on the Peru and the struggle for the Amazon

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