Peru: the autonomy and independence of the National Jury of Elections must be ensured

The ICJ expressed, today, its concern at the current crisis adversely affecting the functioning of the rule of law, human rights and democratic governance in Peru.

A failed coup d’etat by former president Pedro Castillo on 7 December 2022 has been followed by a series of massive public, and sometimes violent, demonstrations, which have led to human rights violations involving the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by security officials.

The ICJ deplores the serious human rights violations alleged to have been committed by security forces in charge of handling public demonstrations, resulting in dozens of deaths and many more injuries. Fair, prompt, and impartial investigations should be conducted in relation to those violations.

Many protesters are calling for immediate general elections. The ICJ underscores that fair, transparent and prompt general elections are the only way out of the current political crisis. A suitable electoral timeframe should be agreed on through inclusive dialogue.

In this connection, the ICJ on 27 January met with Justice Jorge Luis Salas Arenas, Chairperson of Peru’s National Jury of Elections – an autonomous state organ established under the Peruvian Constitution to decide on electoral matters. Justice Salas Arenas was in Geneva as part of Peru’s delegation participating in the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Peru. He discussed the challenges that lie ahead for the holding of fresh, clean and transparent general elections, including the threats and attacks against the organs in charge of organizing and ensuring the elections are free and fair.

The ICJ condemns the harassment, intimidation and attacks against Justice Salas Arenas and calls the Peruvian authorities to ensure his and his family’s safety. The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights has issued precautionary measures in his favour, which the ICJ stresses should be fully complied with, with periodic reports of compliance being sent to the Commission. Safety and security of other members of the JNE should be also guaranteed.

The ICJ also calls Peru’s Congress and the executive branch to respect and ensure the respect of the autonomy and independence of the National Jury of Elections (JNE) and the National Bureau of Electoral Processes (ONPE), which are in charge of organizing and ensuring that the elections are clean and fair.

Read our previous statement on the political situation in Peru: 

Peru: authorities must respect the rule of law amid the political crisis

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