Peru, Truth Commissions

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Peru, Truth Commissions

The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created in 2001 to investigate atrocities committed between 1980 and 2000, a period of internal armed conflict between government forces and two insurgent movements, the Maoist Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). The commission investigated massacres, disappearances, extrajudicial executions, torture, and other atrocities. It was the first truth commission in Latin America to hold public hearings on a variety of themes, including sexual violence against women.

The commission's chairman, Salomón Lerner, former rector of the Catholic University of Peru, presented a final report to President Alejandro Toledo in August 2003. According to the report, 69,280 Peruvians were killed in the conflict and another 6,000 were disappeared; 54 percent of the deaths were attributed to Shining Path, while the armed forces and its proxies were responsible for 37 percent. Three out of four victims of violence were rural Quechua-speaking peasants, the most marginalized and impoverished sector of Peruvian society. The commission proposed institutional reforms, reparations for victims, and criminal trials in forty-three cases of notorious rights abuses.

Critics charged the commission with having a leftist bias, some even accusing it of being pro-terrorist. Defenders say that such criticisms are designed to ensure impunity for rights violators and attest to the integrity of the commission's report and its plan of social repair.

See alsoMovimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA); Guzmán, Abimael; Peru, Revolutionary Movements: Shining Path; Truth Commissions.


Amnesty International. Peru: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission—A First Step Towards a Country without Injustice. Amnesty International Report (AMR 46/003/2004). August 2004. Available from

Defensoría del Pueblo del Perú. A dos años de la Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación. Informe Defensorial no. 97. September 2005. Available from

Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Final Report. August 2003. Available from

                                        Jo-Marie Burt