LIMA, Peru - Former President Alberto Fujimori, on trial on murder and kidnapping charges, yesterday defended his decision in 1995 to grant amnesty to human-rights violators during his war against a brutal leftist insurgency.
"It was part of a concept to pacify Peru," Fujimori said, explaining that he also provided incentives for Shining Path rebels to surrender and provide valuable information to avoid prison.
"There was a climate in which people were beginning to feel peace, and I felt it was necessary to seek a political solution after 14 or 15 years of internal war," he said.
During his questioning of Fujimori, Ronald Gamarra, a lawyer representing victims of a military death squad Fujimori is accused of authorizing, noted that the amnesty went against international practices and was severely criticized by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the human-rights body of the United Nations.
Fujimori also responded to questions related to the kidnapping charges, which stem from the army's illegal detention in 1992 of a prominent journalist and a businessman who were later released.
He denied that he had ever ordered the arrest of anyone and specifically rejected the accusation of his former wife, Susana Higuchi, who has testified that she heard him order the capture of at least one person "dead or alive."
"It's not true," he said.
Fujimori and his wife separated in 1995 and were later divorced.
Fujimori, 69, is on trial for allegedly using the Colina death squad, which was composed of army intelligence agents, to fight the Shining Path during the early years of his 1990-2000 presidency.
If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $33 million.