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Political scandal: Why is Peru's justice in crisis?

The controversy behind the possession of the new attorney general is only one part of a structural problem

Political scandal: Why is Peru's justice in crisis?

Gonzalo Chávarry is the new Attorney General of Peru, and that has awakened a storm of criticism not only because of his election but also against the justice system in its entirety. The Attorney General is involved in a judicial report on the criminal organization called "White Collars." As a result of this, several sectors of Peruvian society have called for the resignation of the Prosecutor.

Leer en español: Tormenta política: ¿Por qué la justicia en Perú está en crisis?

In the first place, Chávarry participated in the vote that designated him as Attorney General, which was 3-2 in his favor. This is already a sign of how irregular thechoice was, but this is only the beginning.

The very credibility of the Peruvian judicial structure is at stake, because if the elections cannot be transparent, nothing guarantees that Chávarry's exercise will be transparent. This is only reinforced after the publication of the report of the provincial prosecutor Sandra Castro.

 

 

What is the case of "Callao’ White Collars"?

In July, Peruvian media leaked audio conversations between magistrates of the National Council of the Magistracy (CNM, in Spanish) and some provincial and supreme judges. Orders for promotions, payment of favors, and reductions of sentences are included in the content of these audios.

The audios were intercepted as part of an investigation against "Las Castañuelas de Richport", a mafia and drug trafficking organization within the jurisdiction of the city of Callao, on the west coast of Peru.

During that operation, Rocío Sánchez, anti-crime prosecutor of the Constitutional Province of Callao, formalized a criminal complaint against businessmen, politicians and judges who were involved in dealings with the criminal organization. What the members of "Las Castañuelas" sought with the judges was to evade arrests and convictions through their lawyers.

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In this exercise of interceptions César Hinestroza, who was president of the Superior Court of Justice of Callao, was part of an audio. According to the investigation, Hinestroza asked prosecutor Chávarry to gather information about the investigations against him. Likewise, both spoke about the possible dismissal of a CNM official that was uncomfortable for both of them.

What does this mean for Peruvian justice?

The case of the "White Collars" is not limited to Hinestroza and Chávarry, because it has so many branches that even reach the Odebrecht case. This is the problem of the so-called network of corruption, since the objective of the organization was, according to Castro's report, "to get together the public entities, such as the Judicial Power and the Public Prosecutor's Office".

This translates into a complete distrust on the part of the rest of Peruvian society, which still remembers the resignation of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski for corruption.

Peru is experiencing one of its worst institutional moments in history. Justice has already proved is incapable of monitoring the executive and President Martín Vizcarra is not doing much to manage the crisis of the judicial branch. It is a subject that goes beyond the conjuncture, because it shows to be structural.

Citizen vigilance and inter-institutional oversight will be fundamental for justice in Peru. Additionally, it is essential that prosecutors such as Sandra Castro and Rocío Sánchez be protected, especially since their commitment to Peru is paying off.

LatinAmerican Post | Iván Parada Hernández
Translated from “Tormenta política: ¿Por qué la justicia en Perú está en crisis?”