Prosecuting a Head of State on Charges of Gross Human Rights Violations in Latin America

On December 10, 2007, Peru placed its former president, Alberto Fujimori, on trial for charges of corruption, abuse of power, and human rights violations. For the first time in Peru ’s history, a former ruler was being asked to respond for crimes against human rights within the context of an ordinary judicial court. As such, the case stands not only as one of the few instances in the world in which a former head of state is tried on charges of human rights violations, but also as an extraordinary example of how systematic crimes of state might be prosecuted through domestic law as opposed to special trials or tribunals used in other such cases.

The Program in Latin American Studies at the Johns Hopkins University cordially invites you to the talk: “Fujimori on Trial. Prosecuting a Head of State on Charges of Gross Human Rights Violations in Latin America,” featuring Ronald Gamarra and Gisella Ortiz. Ronald Gamarra is one of the main Peruvian lawyers representing the victims in the trial against Fujimori. He is also a former public attorney in charge of furthering criminal cases for widespread corruption that took place during the regime of Fujimori. Currently, he holds the position of executive director of the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos del Peru (National Coalition of Peruvian Human Rights Organizations) and teaches at the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos, in Lima. In addition, he has appeared in several times before both the Inter–American Court and the Commission of Human Rights as an expert in legal and human rights issues.

Gisella Ortiz is representative of the relatives of the university students killed in 1992, during the Fujimori, in the “Masacre de la Cantuta”. This is one of the crucial cases of gross human rights violations against Fujimori. Since the killing of La Cantuta, Gisella Ortiz has become a leading activist against impunity and, currently, she is recognized as one of the most active defenders of human rights representing the victims in Peru.

Both, Ronald Gamarra and Gisella Ortiz will give a ‘first hand’ account of the latest developments in the ‘Fujimori case’. Reception will follow. The talk will be held in Spanish.

Date: Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
Time: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Room: Macaulay Hall 400