Peru court sentences soldiers for Accomarca massacre

World Today

Peru court sentences soldiers for Accomarca massacre

It was one of the most notorious mass killings of Peru’s bitter internal conflict between Maoist guerrillas and the state in the 1980s and 1990s.

Now, 30 years on, a Peruvian court has handed down sentences to the army officers responsible for the Accomarca massacre.

CCTV America’s Dan Collyns reports from Lima.

Peru court sentences soldiers for Accomarca massacre

Peru court sentences soldiers for Accomarca massacre

A Peruvian court has handed down sentences to the army officers responsible for the Accomarca massacre. CCTV America’s Dan Collyns reports from Lima.

The family members of the victims finally had their day in court. After a trial lasting nearly six years, judges sentenced 10 former army officers to jail terms of between 10 and 25 years.

Junior soldiers received shorter terms or were acquitted while the maximum term was given to the former general convicted of giving the order to kill.

Telmo Hurtado, the ex-officer who led the attack in August 1985, had been dubbed the ‘butcher of the Andes’ for the massacre in Accomarca. He was extradited from the U.S. in 2011.

Using machine guns and grenades and torching homes with the victims inside, the soldiers killed more than 60 villagers, and among them more than 20 were children.

The mass killing occurred at the height of Peru’s bloody civil conflict with Shining Path guerrillas whose aim was to overthrow the state.

The wheels of justice move slowly in Peru. These family members of the victims have waited more than three decades to see those responsible for the Accomarca massacre punished.

After a day-long wait outside the court, only half of them were allowed inside to hear the sentencing. There was anger and disbelief as many were excluded from the courtroom.

The sentence condemned not just the soldiers who said they were following orders but also the chain of command.

Judges also ordered that the families should get financial compensation- another small step on the road to reconciliation.