Article 2(1) of the 1993 Constitution of Peru (as amended) provides that every person has the right:
To life, his identity, his moral, psychical, and physical integrity, and his free development and well-being. The unborn child is a rights-bearing subject in all cases that benefit him.
Article 2(24)(h) stipulates that: "No one shall be a victim of moral, psychical, or physical violence, nor be subjected to torture or inhuman or humiliating treatment. "
Article 2(12) of the Constitution recognises the right of "peaceful assembly without arms":
Meetings on any premises, whether private or open to the public, do not require prior notification. Meetings held in squares and public thoroughfares require advance notification by the relevant authority, which may prohibit such meetings solely for proved reasons of safety or public health.
Article 166 addresses the mandate of the Peruvian Police:
It is the primary duty of the National Police to guarantee, maintain, and restore internal order. They protect and aid individuals and the community. They ensure the enforcement of laws and the security of both public and private property. They prevent, investigate, and fight crime. They guard and control the national borders.
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||State Party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||State Party|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||Yes|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||State Party|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||State Party|
|1948 Charter of the Organization of American States||State Party|
|1969 Inter-American Convention on Human Rights||State Party|
|Competence of Inter-American Court on Human Rights||Yes|
Police Use of Force
Use of force by the Peruvian Police is regulated under Legislative Decree 1186 of 2015. Article 4 submits all use of force to the principles of legality, necessity, and proportionality. Article 8 governs the circumstances and rules of conduct on the use of force. Paragraph 1 states that a member of the National Police must identify himself as a police officer
and give a clear warning of their intention to use force, with sufficient time for it to be taken into account, unless that warning puts it in danger or creates a serious risk of death or serious injury to other people, or when the warning is obviously inadequate given the circumstances of the case.
Article 8(2) authorises the police to use force in the following circumstances:
- to stop a crime in flagrante delicto or by judicial order according to law
- to fulfill a duty or lawful orders issued by the competent authorities
- to prevent the commission of crimes and misdemeanours
- to protect or defend legal rights
- and restrain whoever opposes the authorities.
Article 8(3) restricts the use of firearms to
when strictly necessary, and only when less extreme measures are insufficient or inadequate, in the following situations:
a. in self-defense or of other people in case of real and imminent danger of death or serious injury.
b. when a situation involving a serious threat to life occurs during the commission of a particularly serious crime.
c. when there is a real and imminent danger of death or serious injury as a result of the resistance offered by the person to be arrested.
d. when a person's life is put at real, imminent and current risk by an escapee.
e. there is a real danger of imminent death of the police personnel or another person, by the action of a person who participates in a violent assembly.
Peru has no dedicated independent civilian police oversight body. The National Ombudsman (Defensoria del pueblo) may investigate complaints against the police but has no power to demand a prosecution.
In its 2018 Concluding Observations on Peru, the Committee against Torture called on the authorities to:
Guarantee the independence of the body responsible for investigating complaints of excessive use of force and other police abuses, and that there is no institutional or hierarchical relationship between the investigators of that body and the presumed perpetrators....
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
In its 2018 Concluding Observations on Peru, the Committee against Torture expressed its
concern at the number of people killed and wounded as a result of the actions of the security forces in response to the sometimes violent protest actions against mining projects and other extractive industries that have taken place in different regions of the country.
While noting a marked decline in this type of incident in recent years, the Committee regretted that Peru
has not provided the information requested on the investigations and related criminal proceedings carried out in respect of all the deaths of demonstrators caused by gunfire of the National Police and the Armed Forces during the period under review. On the other hand, although it takes note of the explanations offered by the delegation regarding the scope of the military jurisdiction and the applicable exception legislation, the Committee remains concerned about the abusive recourse by the State party to states of emergency and the consequent restriction and/or suspension of fundamental rights and freedoms to stifle, even preventively, this type of protest.
The Committee called on Peru to:
Carry out more mandatory training for all law enforcement officers and members of the armed forces on the use of force, especially in the context of demonstrations, taking due account of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by the Law Enforcement Officials.
Cruz Sánchez and others v. Peru (2015)
In December 1996, 14 members of the terrorist group Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement raided the Japanese ambassador's home in Lima. The TARM took the approximately 600 guests hostage for the next four months. On 22 April 1997, State armed forces raided the compound, killing the 14 terrorists, and liberating the remaining hostages. As this event was part of a non-international armed conflict, rules of international humanitarian law, such as Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, applied to the situation. While the majority of the terrorists were lawfully targeted and killed, evidence surfaced that three may have been captured alive by the State, and then subsequently killed, in contravention of Common Article 3. The Court also faulted the State for failing to adequately investigate the crime scene and deaths of these individuals in a timely manner. The Court found that the State had violated the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. With respect to arbitrary deprivation of life, the Court stated that this would occur when the use of force by the state is illegitimate, excessive, or disproportionate.