Following up on yesterday’s feature story, it seems that old wounds are being re-opened in Peru as well, with the case of a Peruvian Army major, Telmo Ricardo Hurtado-Hurtado. Hurtado was involved in the murder of 69 unarmed men in 1985 in Accomarca, Lima on grounds that they were members of the Shining Path, a Maoist guerilla organization in Peru, and thus ‘fair game.’
A recent blog post by Jo-Marie Burt chronicles the details of the story and provides links to recently declassified official US documents from the office of the ambassador to Peru. The documents provide evidence in support of Hurtado’s direct and planned involvement with the massacre, including a comment in which the interim ambassador refers to Accomarca as ‘Peru’s My Lai.’
Hurtado was convicted and sentenced to 6 years in prison immediately following the Accomarca massacre, but never actually served any time. Instead, he continued working with Peru’s military institution, even receiving high honors for his work. He fled to Miami in 2002 after the law of amnesty was nullified by the Inter-American Human Rights Court until he was finally detained and extradited in July. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement department provides more detailed coverage of his detainment and extradition. In January 2009, the ICE created the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center in an effort to better fulfill their commitment to keeping human rights violators out of the U.S. and properly brought to justice.
The trial brings into question whether the massacre was a single outrageous event or part of a systematic and planned campaign of human rights violations against the Peruvian people. According to Jo-Marie Burt, the answer is clear—Hurtado was not only directly involved with the planning of the massacre, but acted to cover up it’s existence and dispose of any related evidence.
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