Seven SOA graduates convicted in Peru

On Oct. 1, seven Peruvian SOA graduates were convicted of aggravated murder, kidnapping, forced disappearance, and conspiracy for their roles in two massacres of civilians and the murder of a radio journalist who had been reporting on human rights violations. The crimes were all committed by Grupo Colina, an army unit led and largely staffed by SOA-trained soldiers.

The convicted included Gen. Nicolas Hermoza Rios de Bari, an honor student at the SOA. When the Peruvian legislature formed a committee to investigate human rights abuses by Grupo Colina, Gen. Hermoza Rios paraded tanks in front of the Congress and declared that the military would Perunever permit a civilian government to “insult” the armed forces.

At an earlier trial, José William Tena Jacinto, a former member of the Grupo Colina death squad, apologized to the families of his victims. He explained that the low-intensity warfare tactics he had been taught as a young solider emphasized “finishing with the enemy” at the expense of human rights. When asked what he meant by low-intensity warfare, Tena responded simply, “it’s what they teach at the School of the Americas.”

The convicted SOA grads were Vladimiro Montesinos Torres, Santiago Martin Rivas, Nicolas Hermoza Rios de Bari, Juan Rivero Lazo, Carlos Pichilingue, Alberto Pinto Cardenes, and Fernando Rodriguez Zabalbeascoa. Former army chief Julio Salazar Monroe were also convicted. Their sentences ranged from 15 to 25 years in prison. (SOA Watch, AFP, Oct. 1)

See our last post on Peru.

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