Press Release

IACHR Troubledby entry into Force of Law 30151 In Peru

January 23, 2014

Washington, D.C. –The Inter-American Commission expresses concern at the entry into force in Peru on January 14, 2014, of Law 30151, which amends Article 20 (11) of that country’s Criminal Code. According to the new wording of the provision, which has been widely criticized by civil society organizations as well as Peru’s Ombudsman, any “personnel of the Armed Forces or National Police of Peru who cause injury or death in the performance of their duties and through the use of their weapons or other means of defense,” would be exempt from liability to criminal prosecution.

The IACHR recalls that Peru, as a state party to the American Convention on Human Rights, has a duty to effectively investigate any deprivation of the right to life or violation of the right to physical integrity and, as appropriate, punish all those responsible, particularly where agents of the State may be involved. Such duties safeguard the rights of victims or their next of kin to judicial protection and a fair trial. Failure to do so would create a climate of impunity and the conditions for violations of that nature to be repeated, which runs counter to the duty to observe and ensure the right to life and the physical integrity of persons.

The Inter-American Commission has also held in its Report on Citizen Security and Human Rights that in their domestic laws and procedures member states must operate on the premise that the instruments that comprise the universal and regional systems of human rights enable them to enforce measures to deal with the threats to citizen security within a framework of the rule of law. Such measures must be put in place in such a way as to guarantee full respect for the basic, inalienable rights recognized under international law. In that regard, the IACHR considers that the recently adopted law entails a serious regression in the area of human rights and in terms of building a citizen security policy, since, as it maintained in the above report, “[h]uman rights standards must be incorporated [in such a policy and] serve both as a guide and as a boundary beyond which State interventions must not go.”

Consequently, the Inter-American Commission calls on the Peruvian State to urgently modify its legal and administrative standards, as well as the operational plans and procedures of the institutions responsible for citizen security, in order to strengthen its capacity to prevent, investigate, and punish human rights violations resulting from any unlawful or excessive use of force by act or omission of State agents.

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 human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 4/14