For an hour, the judge went through the names of the 1,307 plaintiffs, mostly women, and a few men, forcibly sterilized in the 1990s. After nine months of hearings and the reading of more than 180 exhibits on conviction, judge Rafael Martinez announced the opening of a criminal trial, Saturday, December 11, against the ex-autocrat Alberto Fujimori, in power from 1990 to 2000, and already sentenced in 2009 to twenty-five years in prison for human rights violations and massacres. His former ministers of health and his former adviser in charge of health issues are also being prosecuted.
Alberto Fujimori, 83, currently hospitalized under police surveillance for a heart problem, Eduardo Yong, Marino Costa, Alejandro Aguinaga – member of the Fujimorist Fuerza Popular party – and Ulises Jorge Aguilar, will be tried by a criminal court as alleged indirect perpetrators of ” injury to life, body and health ”. They are accused of having orchestrated and implemented a policy of forced sterilizations between 1996 and 2000.
Long legal battle
This decision puts an end to a nineteen-year-long legal battle (the first preliminary investigation was opened in 2002 and the case closed four times). A first victory for thousands of victims who finally see the hope that those responsible for this policy will be tried and condemned.
“This is a historic moment, both for the victims and for Peru and human rights”, se rejoices Maria Esther Mogollon, coordinator of the Association of Peruvian Women Victims of Forced Sterilization (AMPAEF). “I call them one by one because many have not yet informed, there was no electricity yesterday in Anta [région de Cusco dont sont originaires plus de 700 plaignantes]. There is a lot of emotion, but the wait has gone on for so many years that there is also mistrust. Little by little, they pass from disillusionment to hope. “
In the second half of the 1990s, it is estimated that between 270,000 and 350,000 women, as well as 25,000 men, were sterilized as part of a birth control program meant to promote “Voluntary surgical contraception” and whose official aim was to reduce poverty and promote economic growth.
In two years, from 1996 to 1998, specialists consider that at least 180,000 people have been operated on under duress, most of them poor women who speak Quechua or come from the Amazon. A politic “Racist and discriminatory”, said the prosecutor during the preliminary hearings.
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Alberto Fujimori, ex-president of Peru, sued for forced sterilization of thousands of women