Evidence for witness bribery and war crimes against Peru’s former president

By Jill Bähring, Research Associate PILPG-NL

Peru’s former President Ollanta Humala faces investigation into allegations of crimes against humanity related to the fight against the Maoist guerilla group Shining Path in the 90’s by the Peruvian military. Two new witnesses issued testimony on torture and murder of civilians allegedly carried out at the Madre Mia military base.

Humala was an army officer in the 80’s and 90’s. He served as head of state from 2001 to 2016. He originally ran for office as a leftist, but then shifted to the right during his term. Among other things, he supported a bill that criminalized the denial of the Shining Path’s role in the Peruvian civil war in the 80’s, which cost the life of 69,000 individuals. A previous investigation against him was dropped in 2009 for lack of evidence.

However, newly leaked transcripts of phone conversations that were recently submitted to local media suggest that Humala bribed witnesses to get a testimony in his favour. Witness Jorge Avila, who testifies that his brother was killed and tortured by Humala, who allegedly operated under the pseudonym “Capitan Carlos” at military basis “Madre Mia”, told the newspaper El Comercio that he received $4,500 in 2006, when he first came out to the public, to recant the accusations against Humala.

In addition to these new allegations, Humala and his wife are currently under investigation for embezzling and laundering campaign funds in 2006 and 2011.

Ollanta Humala denies all allegations.