Barrios Altos, Lima.
On November 3, 1991, "Grupo Colina," a death squad dispatched by Peru's Army Intelligence Secretariat to carry out extra-judicial executions, went in a couple stolen vans to a building in the Barrios Altos neighborhood, in an area on the southern banks of the Rimac River. The address was 840 Jiron Huanta.
The squad members killed 15 people, including an eight-year-old boy, who were holding a pollada, a fundraiser where people sell chicken and beer to their neighbors. The civilians who died had no connection to the Shining Path, as was suspected. In 2009, the highest officials of the Fujimori government and the military, including President Fujimori himself, were convicted of ordering the killings in a domestic court.
In addition, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) handed down an important decision in 2001, in which it ruled that a government cannot pass self-amnesty laws for serious human rights violations. These include torture; summary, arbitrary, and extrajudicial execution; and forced disappearance.
As a result of the IACHR decision, the four survivors of the massacre and 15 relatives of the victims received $3.3 million in reparations. Their struggle for accountability for the crimes continues.
A 1994 United States government document summarizes the events and implications of the Barrios Altos crimes in this declassified report.
Photo: Devin Finn.