PERU; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 209
(Senate - December 21, 2017)

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[Pages S8244-S8245]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I want to speak briefly about the unfolding 
political crisis, which is also a crisis for justice, in Peru.
  Peru transitioned to democracy in 2000, after two decades of internal 
armed conflict and authoritarian rule. The country has made important 
strides in rebuilding its democratic institutions, consolidating the 
rule of law, and combating impunity, but today, efforts by a majority 
in the Peruvian Congress to arbitrarily remove judges from the 
country's highest court, the Constitutional Tribunal, and to oust the 
attorney general for courageously doing his job, threaten to undermine 
those gains and reverse Peru's democratic progress.
  As a former prosecutor and the senior Democrat on the Senate 
Judiciary Committee, I am especially concerned about the attempt by the 
majority in

[[Page S8245]]

Peru's Congress to impeach Attorney General Pablo Sanchez in the midst 
of his office's investigation into allegations that the Presidential 
campaign of Keiko Fujimori received illegal contributions in 2011. The 
effort to remove Attorney General Sanchez strongly suggests a 
deliberate strategy to obstruct justice and to undermine the autonomy 
of the attorney general's office. This would represent a grave setback 
for hard-fought gains to reestablish an independent judiciary and the 
rule of law in Peru. It would have serious ramifications for U.S.-
Peruvian relations.
  Credible allegations of corruption must be thoroughly investigated, 
without prejudice to party or power, and with due process for the 
accused. I urge members of Peru's Congress to support those who are 
acting on behalf of the Peruvian people in the pursuit of truth and 
justice. Key to this is respect for the autonomy of the office of the 
attorney general and of the Constitutional Tribunal, institutions that 
are guarantors of human rights and the rule of law.