Center for Global Studies

about the fujimori trial

The trial of former president of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, started on December 10, 2007. The current trial involves four charges of human rights violations committed during his government (1990-2000); Fujimori will face additional trials on charges of abuse of authority and corruption.

The trial of Fujimori is truly historic: It marks the first time a former head of state has been extradited to his own country to stand trial for human rights violations. By seeking to punish a former head of state for grave abuses of human rights, Peru stands at the forefront of a broader regional effort to guarantee accountability and justice for past rights abuses. The trial also represents an important effort to consolidate the rule of law in Peru, a key aspect of democratic governance.

Equally historic is the fact that dozens of human rights trials are currently under way in Peru, as elsewhere in Latin America. Once the “sanctuary of impunity”—to use Eduardo Galeano’s phrase in reference to Uruguay—Latin America has taken bold new steps to hold military and civilian torturers accountable for their crimes. The advance of justice is all the more remarkable, given the historic weakness of Latin American judiciaries, the notorious absence of political will to hold those responsible for such crimes accountable, and the belief, even among some progressives, that trials were not viable, perpetuated conflict, or undermined the opportunity for reconciliation.

Despite the historic nature of the trial, its importance has not been matched by adequate journalistic coverage and scholarly inquiry. Internationally, too, little attention has been given to the Fujimori trial and the effort it and other trials represent to achieve accountability for past violations of human rights in Latin America.

Click here for project-related publications on the trial and press coverage.



Back to projects