Hundreds of people protested Thursday in Peru to demand the resignation of the attorney general who had tried to dismiss a team of investigators working on the corruption case around the Brazilian group BTP Odebrecht involving senior political figures.
The most important mobilization was held in Lima, peacefully and under police escort. “Peru for justice without corruption, Chavarry clears”, proclaimed a banner brandished by human rights defenders in reference to Attorney General Pedro Gonzalez Chavarry.
On Monday, Chavarry dismissed prosecutors José Domingo Perez and Rafael Vela, who were charged with alleged corruption cases involving four former Peruvian presidents and opposition leader Keiko Fujimori.
The eviction of the two prosecutors, decided in the name of a supposed violation of the “principle of reserve” and a “lack of rigor”, had occurred at the end of December, Jose Domingo Perez had himself accused the Attorney General Chavarry concealment and obstruction of the investigations against Odebrecht and Ms. Fujimori.
The Attorney General, however, reinstated Wednesday, under pressure from public opinion and President Martin Vizcarra.
Even if it was brief, this eviction harmed the investigation of the Odebrecht case, according to José Domingo Perez: it “affected the steady development of investigations in the case of the Brazilian manufacturer,” said Perez to the public channel TV Peru.
The investigators had to postpone the trip to Brazil, initially scheduled for January 11, to collect the statements of officials of Odebrecht. They are now in talks with the Brazilian justice to set new dates, according to Mr. Perez.
“This agreement with the public prosecutor of Brazil must resume, and if any difficulty has been created, it must be corrected,” said President Vizcarra in the press.
The team led by Prosecutor Vela is responsible for investigating four former Peruvian presidents. Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006) fled to the United States and is the subject of a request for extradition. Ollanta Humala (2011-2016) was imprisoned for nine months until June. Alan Garcia (1985-1990 and 2006-2011) tried to obtain political asylum from the Uruguayan Embassy, which refused him. And Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018) resigned in March.
Keiko Fujimori, currently on remand, is accused of receiving illegal payments from Odebrecht during her 2011 election campaign.