Protesters gathered in Plaza San Martin, Lima

A court in Peru has annulled reports from a parliamentary commission calling for the indictment of ex-President Alan Garcia over links to a "narco-pardons" scandal, sparking protests and spats about this highly politicized corruption case.

The Fifth Constitutional Court of Lima made the decision on March 31 based on an infringement of Garcia's rights of defense, reported La Republica. Politician Enrique Wong, who sat on the "mega-commission" that investigated Garcia, told Peru21 the legal issue stemmed from the commission's failure to inform the ex-president last year of whether he was being asked to appear as a witness or a suspect.

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles

The decision caused public outcry, with protests staged in Lima's Plaza San Martin. It also sparked a spat between Garcia and current President Ollanta Humala, after the latter criticized Garcia and said he "should not try to sneak away from an investigation" if he had nothing to hide. Garcia responded by accusing Humala of supporting the commission for political motives.

In the aftermath of the ruling, commission head Sergio Tejada announced plans to appeal the decision.

With the commission formally dissolved after issuing its final report in January, an entirely new one would have to be assembled to begin the investigation from scratch, should the case against Garcia be pursued once more.

InSight Crime Analysis

The mega-commission was originally approved in 2011 to investigate alleged unconstitutional and corrupt acts by Garcia during his second term as president between 2006 and 2011. The investigation resulted in accusations that Garcia freed 400 drug traffickers in a so-called "pay-for-pardons" scandal.

While Garcia claimed they were low-level traffickers released to relieve pressure on the prison system, evidence suggested some were much more important as the commission's investigation gained traction in late 2013. In December, the commission declared Garcia had committed "constitutional infractions" and in the final January report, it called for Garcia's indictment to face criminal charges.

His possible escape from such a fate on a legal technicality, should the appeal prove fruitless, will be a bitter blow to his opponents, who will see it as further evidence of Garcia's power to escape prosecution, a pattern common among Peru's political elites.

However, Garcia's accusation that the investigation against him is politically motivated could also hold some truth, particularly as reports have widely speculated he is gearing up to run for a third presidential term in the country's 2016 general election.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.