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IAPA welcomes legal reform to combat crimes against journalists

Peruvian Supreme Court Justice Javier Villa Stein with IAPA delegation in Peru, May 2010
Peruvian Supreme Court Justice Javier Villa Stein with IAPA delegation in Peru, May 2010

IAPA

Peru's judiciary has finally created a special jurisdiction to deal with serious crimes committed against journalists, after years of campaigning by the Inter American Press Assocation (IAPA) and the Peruvian Press Council.

On 5 November, the executive council of the judiciary decided that the National Criminal Court and Lima's provincial criminal tribunals will hear cases of homicide, murder, serious injury, kidnapping and extortion of journalists.

The move is "of far-reaching importance for the battle against impunity" said IAPA in a resolution adopted at its general assembly last month. Currently, serious offences related only to terrorism and drug trafficking are dealt with by special tribunals in Peru.

According to IAPA, the initiative has the backing of Peru's President Alan García. Earlier this year García had promised to provide the funds needed to set up the special jurisdiction if the judiciary were to take it up.

The demand dates back to a 2008 regional conference that discussed impunity in crimes committed against Peruvian journalists, such as radio reporter Alberto Rivera Fernández, killed in 2004. Earlier this year, in a controversial ruling, the two alleged masterminds in his murder were acquitted.

IAPA has been lobbying for legal reforms to combat violence and impunity in journalists' murder cases in Brazil and Mexico as well.

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