Juan Manuel Rivera Rondón
Juan Manuel Rivera Rondón was formerly an officer in the Peruvian Army. At the time of the Accomarca Massacre in 1985, Rondón held the rank of lieutenant. He served as a member of Lince Company – a special counter-subversive intelligence unit that could be deployed rapidly to different regions – and commanded the Lince 6 patrol unit, which was involved in the massacre. Toward the end of 1985, the Peruvian Senate interviewed eyewitnesses and reached the conclusion that 69 civilians had been killed in what became known as the “Accomarca Massacre”. The Peruvian Supreme Court eventually delegated the case to the military as opposed to the civil justice system, which subsequently dismissed all charges against military personnel, including Rivera Rondón, who was later promoted by the Army.
He then came to the United States in the early 1990s and bought a home in Montgomery County, Maryland. Meanwhile, in Peru, the Government of President Alberto Fujimori passed a law in 1995 which gave amnesty to all members of the military – Rivera Rondón included – for police actions taken against terrorists, making the amnesty retroactive to 1980.
However, in 2000, the Fujimori Government was replaced and the amnesty law repealed. In 2005, Peruvian prosecutors filed criminal charges against Rivera Rondón and Telmo Hurtado Hurtado, among others, for their involvement in the Accomarca Massacre. However, because Rivera Rondón was absent from Peru, the criminal case against him in Peru could not go forward.
Rivera Rondón lived with impunity in an upscale suburb of Washington D.C. until 2003, when he was arrested and charged with the sexual abuse of a young relative. In 2005, the charge was reduced to “contributing to a minor child in need of assistance” and Rivera Rondón was given a one-year suspended sentence.
On March 23, 2007, agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Rivera Rondón in Baltimore for failing to tell immigration officials that he had been convicted of a crime. Although Rondón’s involvement in the massacre was cited as a key reason for his arrest, the criminal and immigration charges did not directly concern the killings in Accomarca or the defendant’s role in human rights abuses in Peru.
Finally, on August 15, 2008, Rivera Róndon was deported by I.C.E. to Peru where he was immediately detained by Peruvian authorities and a criminal human rights investigation was initiated. In an example of the “inside-outside” approach to transnational human rights accountability, a CJA attorney traveled to Peru to assist local prosecutors and the investigative judge Salvador Neyra on the human rights prosecution. On January 14, 2009, criminal authorities in Peru concluded the initial investigation phase into human rights crimes committed by Rivera Rondón. The criminal trial in Peru against Rivera Rondón began on November 18, 2010 and is ongoing.