Truth Commission: Peru 01
Truth Commissions Digital Collection
July 2001 | Truth Commission
Truth Commission: Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación, CVR)
Dates of Operation: July 13, 2001 – August 28, 2003 (2 years, 1 month)
Background: In 1980 the Shining Path, a Maoist opposition group, began an uprising against the Peruvian military dictatorship to protest pervasive social and economic inequalities. In 1982, the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement began fighting against the military as well and also engaged in an internal conflict with the Shining Path. The war disproportionately affected the remote Ayacucho Region where forty percent of an estimated 70,000 deaths and disappearances occurred. Activity of the Shining Path significantly diminished after their leader Abimael Guzmán and other key members were captured in 1992. The government's engagement in the conflict ended after President Alberto Fujimori was forced from office in November 2000.
In December 2000, the caretaker government of Valentin Paniagua approved the establishment of a truth commission, which was inaugurated on July 13, 2001 and began its work after President-elect Alejandro Toledo took office later that month.
Charter: Interim president Paniagua decided to establish the CVR with the approving vote of his Cabinet. Supreme Resolution No. 314-2000-JUS, February 27, 2001 proposed the creation of a truth commission and established a working group to design its mandate. The commission was set up by decree No. 065-2001-PCM, June 4, 2001 (in English and Spanish). It was renamed and expanded through Supreme Decree No. 101-2001-PCM, (PDF-84KB) September 4, 2001 (under then President Alejandro Toledo).
The appointment of the seven initial commissioners was contained in Supreme Resolution No. 330-2001-PCM, (PDF-77KB) June 6, 2001. Five additional members and an observer were appointed through Supreme Resolution No. 438-2001-PCM, (PDF-73KB) September 5, 2001. The CVR’s period of operation was extended until August 31, 2003 through Supreme Decree No. 063-2003-PCM, (PDF-84KB) June 25, 2003.
Mandate: The CVR’s mandate was to investigate assassinations, torture, disappearances, displacement, employment of terrorist methods and other violations attributable to the State, the Shining Path and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement between May 1980 and November 2000 during the administrations of former Presidents Fernando Belaunde (1980 - 1985), Alan Garcia (1985 - 1990) and Alberto Fujimori (1990 - 2000).
Commissioners and Structure: The TRC was comprised of twelve Peruvian commissioners, ten men and two women, chaired by Salomón Lerner Febres. The President appointed the members of the commission with the approval of the Council of Ministers. The commission opened five regional offices to carry out its work.
Report: On August 28, 2003, the commission released its 8,000-page final report (in Spanish) to then President Alejandro Toledo and to other members of the government.
- Vol. 1: Introduction (PDF-874KB)
- Vol. 1: Chapters 1-4 (PDF-4599KB)
- Vol. 2 (PDF-9912KB)
- Vol. 3 (PDF-13595KB)
- Vol. 4 (PDF-9945KB)
- Vol. 5 (PDF-17951KB)
- Vol. 6 (PDF-16337KB)
- Vol. 7 (PDF-19171KB)
- Vol. 8 (PDF-8275KB)
- Vol. 9 (PDF-5557KB)
- Annex (PDF-31082KB)
- Based on statistical analysis, the CVR's final report estimated that the total number of people who died during the conflict period is between 61,007 and 77,552, in addition to hundreds of thousands of displaced persons.
- The Shining Path was the principal perpetrator of crimes and human rights violations, responsible for 54% of the deaths.
- The Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement was responsible for 1.5% of the deaths.
- The State, military, police, other security forces, political parties, and each of the governments in power during the conflict, most notably the administration of Alberto Fujimori are responsible the remaining deaths.
- The legislature, judiciary, civil society, media, and the educational system were co-opted in the perpetuation of violence and violent ideology.
- The commission outlined the need for reparations, specifically noting that the majority of the victims were poor indigenous peasants who have traditionally been marginalized socially and economically.
- The CVR also called for national reconciliation and acknowledgement and acceptance of Peru's multiethnic and multilingual composition.
- Prosecutions and institutional reforms were encouraged but not required.
- In November 2003, President Toledo publicly apologized on behalf of the State “to those who have suffered”.
- A civil anti-terrorism court sentenced the Shining Path's leader and his deputy to life in prison and delivered lesser sentences to ten other leaders on October 13, 2006.
- On January 3, 2003, the Peruvian Constitutional Tribunal found some laws that formed part of Fujimori's 1992 anti-terrorist legislation to be unconstitutional. Life imprisonment and for military courts to try civilians for "treason" were ruled out. In 2004, the Constitutional Tribunal confirmed the right to know the truth in disappearance cases.
- Arrest warrants have been issued against several military officials in connection with the executions or disappearances of more than 50 individuals at a military base. The case is ongoing.
A High-Level Multisector Commission was created in early 2004 to follow-up the CVR’s recommendations relating to peace, collective reparations, and national reconciliation. The Congress then passed reparations legislation in July 2005. Although the reparations processes have been fraught with delays, the National Council for Reparation, established in October 2006, began in early 2008 to register victims in order to provide individual reparations according to the CVR recommendations.
Special Notes: The Peruvian commission was the first in Latin America to hold public hearings, which were generally well received.
Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. "Justice in Perspective - Truth and Justice Commission, South America - Peru." Available at http://www.justiceinperspective.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=82&Itemid=132b (accessed August 8, 2008).
Confronting the Truth: Truth Commissions and Societies in Transition. Directed by Steve York, York Zimmerman Inc., United States Institute of Peace and International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. [United States]: York Zimmerman Inc., 2006.
Cuya, Esteban. "Las Comisiones De La Verdad En América Latina." Ko'Aga Roñe'Eta iii, (1996): July 1, 2008. Available at http://www.derechos.org/koaga/iii/1/cuya.html.
International Center for Transitional Justice. "Peru: ICTJ Activity." Available at http://ictj.org/our-work/regions-and-countries/peru (accessed May 12, 2011).
Laplante, Lisa J. and Kimberly Theidon. "Truth with Consequences: Justice and Reparations in Post-Truth Commission Peru." Human Rights Quarterly 29, (2007): 228-250.