Peruvian ex-general ordered to pay $37 mn to massacre survivors

March 6th, 2008 - 2:45 pm ICT by admin  

Miami, March 6 (IANS) A US federal judge here ordered a former Peruvian Army general to pay $37 million in damages to two survivors of a 1985 massacre in the Andean nation, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Thursday. Judge Adalberto Jordan, besides ordering retired army officer Maj. Telmo Hurtado Hurtado to pay the damages, ruled that he “should be extradited to Peru” to face a possible criminal trial for his role in the Accomarca massacre.

The suit was brought by the San Francisco-based Centre for Justice and Accountability on behalf of Teofila Ochoa Lizarber and Ciria Pulido Baldeon, who were both 12 years old when they witnessed the slaughter of 69 residents of their village, including members of their families.

Hurtado, who is under arrest in Miami awaiting deportation for having lied on his application for a US visa, did not employ defence counsel.

Jordan said that Hurtado admitted in 1995 that the massacre occurred and, when questioned by a Peruvian Senate investigative panel, assumed responsibility for the killings.

The army officer was leading an operation to exterminate the civilian population in the village of Accomarca, believing they were helping the Maoist-inspired Shining Path rebel group, the judge said.

He added that Hurtado “did not express remorse for his actions” and that his conduct “easily” meets the requirements for the imposition of punitive damages.

Ochoa lost six members of her family in the massacre, including her mother and five siblings, while Pulido was seeking damages for the deaths of her mother and a brother.

The suit was filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act, a 1789 US law that allows foreigners to seek redress in American courts for breach of “the law of nations or a treaty of the United States”, and the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1992.

Hurtado was arrested last April in Miami and accused of providing false information to obtain a US visa.

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