IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – In the face of a new presidential impeachment in Peru based on the permanent moral incompetence of the individual holding the presidency, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) stresses its concern about the repeated, discretionary use of this legal procedure by the Peruvian Congress. Presidential impeachments must ensure constitutional due process and be based on precisely defined behaviors that ensure objective, impartial proceedings, to guarantee they are not used to disrupt democratic order or the political rights of Peruvians.
On March 14, 2022, Peru's Congress decided to launch debate on an impeachment motion based on the alleged permanent moral incompetence of democratically elected President Pedro Castillo. If it passes, this procedure would lead to the president's dismissal. The IACHR has repeatedly said that presidential impeachment based on the permanent moral incompetence of the individual holding the presidency has not been objectively defined and that it has also not been interpreted by Peru's Constitutional Court, which could affect the separation and independence of the different branches of government. The IACHR therefore once again urges the State to define it (through the appropriate authorities), in order to restrict arbitrary applications that are inconsistent with the rule of law.
The IACHR has also expressed its concern about the repeated use of presidential impeachments, which have been sought six times since December 2017 and have contributed to Peru's governance problems. The country has had five presidents and three legislatures since 2016, due to disputes among the different branches of government.
The IACHR stresses the urgent need to define presidential impeachment based on the permanent moral incompetence of the individual holding the presidency, and notes that Peru's Constitutional Court should define it to prevent discretionary applications. The Commission further stresses that, in keeping with the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the separation of powers and access to power based on the rule of law are both essential for representative democracy.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.