Landmark verdict in the Manta case: 10 soldiers convicted of rape against Quechua-speaking peasant women in the internal armed conflict

The judiciary convicted 9 of the 10 military personnel it prosecuted for sexual rape against women during the internal armed conflict between 1980 and 2000. Photo: Laura Vásquez

Nine Quechua-speaking women A woman from the district of Manta (Huancavelica), a survivor of sexual violence perpetrated by the army during the internal armed conflict, received a historic verdict this Wednesday, which opens the way to justice, five years after the start of the second oral trial.

Ten of the 13 military personnel prosecuted were sentenced to prison by the First National Superior Criminal Court for temporary liquidation. When the sentence was pronounced, none of the defendants were present and many attended virtually. Punishment was reserved for three of them – Julio Meza, Edwin Carrasco and Diomedes Gutiérrez – because they were abusive prisoners.

The investigation, which began in 2003, suffered numerous delays and lapses, including the collapse of the first oral hearing due to alleged irregularities by judges. However, a second process was launched in 2019 that included Manta’s visit to inspect key locations described by survivors, such as the former army base, the stadium and surrounding areas where abuses took place.

Between 1984 and 1995, peasant women and girls from Manta and Vilaca reported that they were systematically raped and subjected to other forms of abuse by members of the armed forces. Many of them were teenagers and had to endure Forced pregnancy. Four decades later, her attackers have been put behind bars.

The Mantina women have been fighting for justice for 40 years. Photo: Demus

Sabino Valentín Ruti was sentenced to 12 years in prison; Rufino Rivera Quispe, Vicente Ynes Collahuacho, Epifanio Quiñónez Loyola, Amador Gutiérrez Lizarbe, Lorenzo Inga Romero, Raúl Pinto Ramos, and Arturo Simara García received 10-year sentences; Martín Sierra Gabriel was sentenced to 8 years; and Pedro Pérez López, 6 years.

The court determined that each victim would receive S/100,000 as civil compensation and pointed out that the facts of the case are involved in international law as crimes against humanity, therefore, they cannot be determined by time Single Registry of Victims of the Ministry of JusticeMore than 5,300 women were sexually abused during the armed conflict. Huancavelica was one of the five regions where the highest number of these crimes was recorded.

Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission The (CVR) identified that 83% of the perpetrators belonged to the military and the National Police (PNP), while the remaining 17% were members of subversive groups. In many cases, senior leaders were aware of and encouraged these practices.

In the case, the court considered sexual violations during internal armed conflict as crimes against humanity. Photo: Laura Vasquez

Cynthia SilvaThe director of Demus-Estudio for the Defense of Women’s Rights and the lawyer who accompanied the legal defense of the three survivors, indicated that she was waiting for the Public Ministry to “file the corresponding appeal to request an increase in the penalties”, which initially were 18 and 10 years, but were reduced to 10 and 12 years, respectively.

In conversation with Infobae Peru, The lawyer also demanded that the court issue the necessary arrest warrants to make the sentence effective. “We cannot accept those guilty of crimes against humanity becoming fugitives and evading justice every day, making a mockery of the victims’ right to justice and compensation,” he said.

“Tomorrow we will talk about the decision of the aggrieved parties regarding the conditions for challenging the verdict. The penalties and civil compensation do not correspond to what the Chamber considers proven in court. No defendant appeared. You can see their places in the room empty,” he added.

Silva They also expressed their intention to file an appeal to have it annulled, and explained that they would have to define the conditions under which it would be applied. “In principle, we agree with all the grounds that support the conviction, and all the grounds that support the damage caused to these victims, but we do not agree with the reduction of sentences (…) and we also do not agree with the civil compensation which does not reflect the severity of the damage caused to the lives of these women. It is not proportionate,” they concluded.

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