Getting Away With Crimes Against Humanity

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

Oh this is bad. The Peruvian prosecution in the case of indicting former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori of forcing tens of thousands of poor Peruvian women into forced sterilizations has dropped the case. The number of cases, testimonies and independent investigations carried out into how many Peruvian women were forcibly sterilized was so great that even the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights termed this as a crime against humanity. The Commission has demanded that Peru not only thoroughly investigate this but that all perpetrators be brought to justice. The chief architect of this, Fujimori, was found by the Commission to have been responsible for the forced sterilization of as many as 300,000 women.

Fujimori has long claimed that this program was “voluntary” and that none of the women were ever forcibly sterilized. He blamed any deaths of any of the women from the sterilization program as the work of “a few over-zealous officials and doctors.” Given the testimonies of all the women who are brave enough to speak, and what official documentation has surfaced, Fujimori’s contention that this was all voluntary is ludicrous. All of the women’s testimonies speak of threats, coercion, torture and detention used against them unless they “consented” to be sterilized. Most of these forced sterilizations were carried out in very unsanitary conditions, and 18 well documented cases of women who died from these forced sterilizations have been presented as evidence against Fujimori.

These 18 cases alone should be more than sufficient to show that Fujimori is guilty of crimes against humanity. Apparently, Fujimori still has too many supporters within the echelons of Peru’s government and society. Fujimori’s forced sterilization program ran from 1995-2000, until he was ousted from power because of the dictatorial powers he had amassed into his hands. He fled from Peru but was eventually extradited by Chile back to Peru. Fujimori now sits in prison on convictions of graft and corruption, but not for his mass sterilization program. Since this program was primarily aimed at the poor, there can be no question its purpose was to attack the most vulnerable of society. Fujimori claims that his program successfully lowered Peru’s population growth rate from 3.7 percent to 2.7 percent. But at what price? This crime against humanity will haunt Peru for generations to come. I find it ironic that the Peruvian government can nail Fujimori for corruption, but not for crimes against humanity.

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