They Killed My Brother
Gisela Ortiz, who is forty-four years old, is a business administrator by profession, and has been a human rights activist since 1992. She is one of the leading figures of the families of the victims of the murder La Cantuta at University of Education Enrique Guzmán and Valle, where her brother was kidnapped and then killed. Gisela has received the National Human Rights Award twice, given by the National Human Rights Coordinator of Peru. Currently, she is the operational manager of the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team.
During the presidency of Alberto Fujimori, who held office from July 1990 to November 2000, the Grupo Colina death squad formed by Fujimori and Montesinos in late 1990s, committed several human rights violations. These violations included disappearances, extrajudicial killings of peasants, students, union leaders, and journalists. Gisela’s brother, Luis Enrique Ortiz Perea, a twenty-one year old student at the University of Education Enrique Guzmán and Valle, was murdered.
On July 18, 1992, Gisela’s brother, along with six students, seven men and two women, and the university professor, Hugo Muñoz, were kidnaped and then murdered by a group belonging to the Army Intelligence Peruvian Service. Her brother’s body was found in October 1993, fifteen months after he was kidnapped. This is one of the cases for which the former president, Alberto Fujimori, has been sentenced in 2009 to twenty-five years in prison. Since 1993, Gisela dedicated herself to seek justice not only for her brother, but also for thousands of families who have lost their family members.
The people who are directly responsible for the murder of her brother and others are the Grupo Colina death squad, members led by former army lieutenant Santiago Martin Rivas, who followed orders of Nicolas Hermoza Rios, a general chief of the joint command of the Armed Forces, Julio Salazar Monroe, the Head Service of the Army National Intelligence, and Vladimiro Montesinos, an adviser and intelligence service chief of Fujimori.
The pain never goes away. One gets used to living with an absence of a loved one. It hurts a wrongful and absurd death caused for political reasons, which was ordered by the fujimontesinismo. Although we’ve had some decisions thanks to the wrongful death attorney we hired by the Tribunals of Justice in Peru, and by the Intermaricana Court of Human Rights, we still need to sentence several people who are responsible for the murder. Although it passed twenty-four years since the murder occurred, the prosecution of those responsible did not begin. That sense of permanent injustice cannot be erased from our minds, Gisela said.
On May 26, 2016, the Peruvian Government passed a law that stipulated to search for more than fifteen thousands people who are still missing. This is important for the thousands of families who are still waiting for their loved ones to be found. The Peruvian government needs to put all efforts to find those who are still missing, some for thirty years. To do this, a political will is essential to assume the costs and the budget for testing and identifying the DNA of those who are still missing.
The greatest difficulty that can be encountered through this process is the indifference of the authorities to make this law compliance. Such indifference could mean the budget that is required is not approved, and the prevention of independent teams like Equipo Peruano de Antropologia Forense (EPAF) in searching of the missing people, and refraining from providing information about the burial sites. This entire can hampers the search, and it will prolong the pain and anguish of the relatives.
If the law would be properly applied and carried out, it will close an open wound that happened more than thirty years ago. Additionally, it will allow the state to reconcile with the victims of the conflict. A future without commune graves, without missing people, no hidden stories, the truth of the facts, and responding to relatives, is what we all aspire to as a country. We want a future without missing people, Gisela said.
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Posted By Daniel Prelipcian (Peru)
Posted Aug 11th, 2016