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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 04:47 GMT
Peru slams ruling on rebel rights
By Dan Collyns
BBC News, Lima

Peruvian President Alan Garcia (file image)
Mr Garcia said he would protect Peru's economy against the ruling
Peru's president has said he will challenge an international human rights court after it ruled the country should compensate families of rebels killed.

In December, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered Peru to pay the families of Shining Path rebels killed in a prison riot 15 years ago.

But Alan Garcia says he cannot allow Peruvian taxpayers to pay the $20m (10.3m, 15.4m euros) in compensation.

The court's decision has aroused widespread indignation in Peru.

Bloody insurgency

Sections of the public believe that such a payment would honour terrorists.

Mr Garcia said the rulings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which also called for a public homage to the victims, would be legally challenged.

He also criticised his predecessor, Alejandro Toledo, for allowing so many allegations of human rights abuses to be dealt with by the supra-national court.

Peru has said that it will not pull out of the court despite denouncing the ruling as insensitive and, at worst, outrageous.

The killings in question were carried out during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori, just weeks after he dissolved congress and took full control in an alliance with the military in 1992.

This self-declared coup was popular with a public weary of the bloody Shining Path insurgency which had engulfed the country.

The Peruvian armed forces launched an assault on the Castro Castro prison which was full of suspected and convicted members of the Maoist Shining Path movement, including several leaders.

Over the course of some days, at least 41 were killed and there is evidence that many were summarily executed.

Vigilante groups

Human rights groups have welcomed the court ruling as an opportunity for Peru, as a signatory to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, to acknowledge the human rights abuses committed during the civil war in the 1980s and 1990s.

Around 70,000 people died in that era - a significant proportion of them at the hands of government forces and their vigilante groups.

Former President Fujimori fled Peru in 2000 amid a corruption scandal. He is now living in Chile from where Peru is seeking his extradition on human rights and embezzlement charges.

Peru has been ordered to pay up to $20m (10.3m) in compensation and has a year to comply with the court's demands.

But some analysts say the current government of Alan Garcia is reluctant to agree to the court's ruling as Mr Garcia himself faces accusations of political responsibility for a prison massacre in 1986 during his first term as president.

Fujimori judge rejects case delay
18 Nov 06 |  Americas
Peru Shining Path head gets life
14 Oct 06 |  Americas
Fujimori says he respected rights
23 May 06 |  Americas
Peru seeks Fujimori extradition
03 Jan 06 |  Americas
Profile: Peru's Shining Path
05 Nov 04 |  Americas
Country profile: Peru
25 Oct 06 |  Country profiles


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