Lima, Peru.  On April 9, 2012, a surprising turn of events took place in the Peruvian criminal proceedings against Telmo Hurtado, a former Peruvian military officer responsible for the massacre of 69 peasants in Accomarca in on August 14, 1985.  Hurtado, a defendant in CJA’s Accomarca Case, confessed that he was responsible for the killing of 31 villagers.  And—for the first time—he testified that he was ordered to cover up the military High Command’s role in the Accomarca Massacre.

“Hurtado said that he was ordered to ‘make a fool out of himself’ before the Congressional Committee that investigated the case soon after the massacre in 1985, so that senior officers would not be involved in criminal process and to strengthen the fight against ‘subversion’ in the country,” explained Celestino Baldeon, a survivor of the massacre and the spokesperson for the Accomarca Survivors Association.

In his remarks, the former lieutenant admitted criminal responsibility in the death of 31 peasants in Accomarca, but said that he does not know who is responsible for the rest of peasants raped, beaten and burned alive on August 14, 1985 in the locality of Ayacucho.

Hurtado, a former Major, was a fugitive in the U.S. until CJA brought suit on behalf of Ms. Ochoa Lizarbe and Ms. Pulido Baldeón, who were 12 years old at the time of the massacre.  CJA’s suit precipitated his arrest by US authorities and his extradition to Peruvian prosecutors last July.