Peruvian ex-officer to pay in massacre case

On March 5 US District Judge Adalberto Jordan in Miami ordered retired Peruvian army major Telmo Ricardo Hurtado to pay $37 million to two survivors of a 1985 massacre in which soldiers under Hurtado’s direct command killed 69 indigenous campesinos, mostly women and children, in the highlands village of Accomarca. The plaintiffs, Teofila Ochoa and Cirila Pulido, survived the massacre as teenagers, losing many of their close relatives. They sued Hurtado, who fled to the US in 2002, under the 1789 Alien Torts Statute; the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) represented them. The $37 million award is mostly symbolic; Hurtado is currently in immigration detention.

Three Peruvian military units, led by officers Juan Rivera, David Castaneda and Luis Robles, backed up Hurtado’s unit during the 1985 massacre. Rivera, currently in immigration detention in Maryland, is also being sued by Accomarca survivors with support from the CJA. Castaneda lives in Boston, where he has repeatedly applied for political asylum. Robles is still an active duty army officer in Peru, although his movements have been restricted because of an investigation by the courts. (Inter Press Service, March 5)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 23

See our last post on Peru.