On November 3, 1991, six armed men, their faces covered in balaclavas, interrupted the celebration of residents living in the Barrios Altos neighborhood in Lima, killing 15 people, including one child. The attack also left four people injured and another disabled. Those responsible were members of “Grupo Colina”, a group affiliated with the Peruvian National Intelligence Service.
The case was not investigated judicially until April 19, 1995, almost four years after the events. Once they started, these investigations faced several challenges due to two amnesty laws, passed by Congress and supported by the military courts, that prevented their further development. These laws were eventually rejected by Judge Saquicuray, who took the case, and ultimately, also by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Impact of the case:
- Along with the case of La Cantuta, the case of Barrios Altos contributed to the eventual formulation of charges against the former president of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, for his involvement in several instances of human rights violations during his regime.
- The conviction of Fujimori was the first time international justice influenced the development and advancement of domestic criminal proceedings against a former President.
- This case also exposed the environment of impunity in which the perpetrators of the massacre and perpetrators of other crimes against humanity lived during and after the armed conflict in Peru. The IACHR, in rejecting the amnesty laws that protected the perpetrators, set a precedent that rose against the practice of impunity in the Americas.