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The Sides of Justice in Peru

November 16, 1992



Regarding the Opinion page article "Justice: a Victim in Peru," Oct. 27: Neither of the authors has contacted, as they state, the Embassy of Peru in Washington for information on the trial of Abimael Guzman Reynoso, leader of the Shining Path revolutionary movement in Peru. Moreover, the article makes inaccurate references to several facts, which perhaps leads to the authors' lack of information of which they complain.

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If Mr. Guzms trial by a military tribunal is questioned on its independence from the armed forces fighting Sendero Luminoso, then it would be impossible to find a tribunal, be it civilian or military, in which to try Guzman. The fight against terrorism in Peru is not some idea in the back of people's minds, but a struggle for survival which encompasses all Peruvians: peasants as well as urbanites, rich and poor, those who wear uniforms and those who do not.

Sendoro has murdered judges, prosecutors, priests, pastors, and nuns, among others. By following the authors' bizarre line of argument, no civilian court could judge Guzman either. The presence of United States Attorney Leonard Weinglass and other legal observers in Peru was not objected to by Peruvian authorities; it was rather the Peruvian people who in a spontaneous manner expressed their outrage at the self-declared aims this group made public. Furthermore, there is no provision in international law that obligates sovereign states to accept observers into their judicial proceedings. Jorge Valdez C., Washington Charge d'Affaires of Peru, Embassy of Peru

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