Panel Blames Rebels and Governments for Deaths in Peru
Dissecting 20 years of conflict, a government-appointed truth commission issued a voluminous report today that concluded that a fanatical, Maoist rebel group was responsible for the greatest number of deaths but also blamed three governments for widespread human-rights abuses.
The report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission said that 69,000 people died or disappeared from 1980 to 2000, nearly triple earlier estimates. The commission said that three out of every four people who died or disappeared were Quechua-speaking Indians, civilians who the report said were caught between the military and a brutal guerrilla group intent on toppling the state. The commission’s report, the culmination of a two-year investigation based on nearly 17,000 individual testimonies from 530 remote villages and reams of documents, said that most victims lost their lives during the governments of Fernando Belaunde and Alan Garcia in the 1980’s, two administrations that are widely considered democratic. Those governments were blamed for giving too much power to the military and then failing to stem a rising tide of abuses as some military units embarked on a scorched-earth campaign in Peru’s isolated highlands. Full Story