LIMA (Reuters) - Peru’s national prosecutors office said on Friday it has opened an investigation into allegations of “crimes against humanity” related to the military’s fight against leftist guerrillas in the 1990s, in a case involving former President Ollanta Humala.
The investigation comes as testimony from two new witnesses suggests that soldiers under Humala’s command at the Madre Mia military base tortured and murdered civilians. Humala was an army officer during Peru’s bloody campaign against Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path during the 1980s and 1990s.
Humala has publicly denied the allegations.
Humala ran as a leftist but shifted to the right during his five-year term from 2011 through 2016, embracing free-market policies and backing a law that made it a criminal offence to deny the Shining Path’s role in a civil war that started in 1980 killed 69,000 people.
He was replaced last year by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former investment banker and free-markets proponent.
A previous probe into the alleged human rights violations was shelved in 2009 for lack of evidence. But leaked transcripts of recorded phone conversations published in local media in recent weeks appear to suggest Humala bribed torture victims to alter their testimony, which he has also denied.
Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Leslie Adler