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Rape verdict – after decades

During the Peruvian civil war, soldiers raped young women – and got away with it for decades. Now a court has sentenced ten ex-military officers to prison terms: a trial with a message, the judge also stressed.

Peru's First Supreme Criminal Court has convicted ten former soldiers of raping nine girls during the civil war in the 1980s and 1990s. According to the investigation, the men raped the teenage girls between 1984 and 1994 while they were serving in the Peruvian army in the poverty-stricken region of Huancavelica.

At this time, Peru was in the midst of a conflict between the army and the Maoist militia “Sendero Luminoso” (in English: Shining Path), during which an estimated 70,000 people died. According to the Peruvian Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, there were hundreds of cases of rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution and forced abortions.

The situation at the time meant that the rapists were not prosecuted and the young women had to live with social exclusion and legal helplessness, said Judge Marco Angulo when announcing the verdict.

“Respect rights even in the most serious crises”

The First Supreme Court has now imposed prison sentences of between six and twelve years on the ten defendants in the trial. “The decision taken is a message that aims to respect people's fundamental rights even in the most serious social crises in the country,” said Angulo.

The trial, which lasted five years, is the first in Peru to investigate sexual crimes committed by soldiers.

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