HomeNewsBriefDozens of Peru Police Investigated for Extrajudicial Killings
BRIEF

Dozens of Peru Police Investigated for Extrajudicial Killings

PERU / 2 AUG 2016 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

Nearly one hundred members of Peru's national police are under investigation for their alleged participation in a series of extrajudicial killings, illustrating the dangers of inculcating and rewarding violence within police forces. 

On July 31, the investigative television news show Cuarto Poder broadcast an interview with an anonymous source who accused police commander Enrique Prado Ravines of leading a series of illegal operations that killed more than 20 people between 2011 and 2015.  

When asked by Cuarto Poder about the allegations, Prado Ravines said he did not have permission to comment. His lawyer, however, told the television program, "It's absurd, it's false, it's not the truth, it's not true."

Local media outlets have reported that the Attorney General's Office and the Inspector General of the police are investigating 96 members of the force -- 16 officers and 80 sub-officers -- in connection with the alleged crimes. The reports indicate that Prado Ravines is believed to have directed six operations that resulted in the deaths of 27 suspected criminals.

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles 

Cuarto Poder's source said that officers identified the victims based on tips provided by informants, and then ambushed and executed them, altering physical evidence and coordinating their testimony to make it appear as though the killings were justified.

The operations were reportedly paid for with funds from the police intelligence budget. Those who participated in the executions were allegedly rewarded with financial compensation and promotions.

In comments reported by El Comercio, Interior Minister Carlos Basombrío expressed shock at the revelations and vowed to investigate them thoroughly.

"They are killing criminals in order to benefit economically and professionally, to be clear. The accusation is extremely serious," Basombrío said. "This cannot be taken lightly. The police deserves respect and we are going to investigate these serious reported irregularities."

Basombrío said that he had formed a special investigative commission to look into the allegations. He indicated that the group would produce a report within the next two weeks.

InSight Crime Analysis

Beyond the alleged extrajudicial killings, what's worrying about this case is the possibility that police were rewarded for their actions with money and professional advancement. Such a scenario portrays a system that incentivizes police to kill criminals, rather than carry out arrests and protect the general public. Unfortunately, this would not be a unique case in Latin America. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform

In El Salvador, for instance, authorities have taken to using war-like rhetoric in instructing the security forces to combat the country's powerful street gangs. Last year, a police chief told his officers to use their weapons with "complete confidence" when taking aim at criminals. The combative tone has translated into a huge number of police-gang confrontations, which have resulted in the death of over 300 alleged gang members in this year alone.

Military troops in Colombia, meanwhile, were allegedly praised for their "good work" in killing farmers and dressing them up as if they were guerrillas. Army brigades killed as many as 3,000 civilians in this manner between 2002 and 2008, according to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report, in cases that would become known as "false positives."

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

PERU / 20 MAR 2017

Guerrillas of Peru's Shining Path rebels recently killed three policemen in the country's main coca-producing region, a sign that the…

EXTORTION / 4 JUL 2017

The latest revelations about land trafficking in Peru show how unchecked urban sprawl can foster criminal enterprises that…

MEXICO / 9 JUN 2021

Over 90 percent of active personnel in Mexico’s National Guard remain uncertified two years after the police body’s creation, marking…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…

THE ORGANIZATION

Exploring Climate Change and Organized Crime

10 SEP 2021

In July, InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley moderated a panel for the Climate Reality Project's regional series of workshops for young climate activists in the Americas. The week-long event…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gearing Up a New Class of Interns

3 SEP 2021

InSight Crime is readying its newest class of interns – from universities in Europe and the Americas – to begin investigative work on a number of high-impact projects. For the…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Environmental Crime in the Amazon

27 AUG 2021

Next week, InSight Crime launches an investigation – conducted with Brazilian think-tank the Igarapé Institute – on the sophisticated organized crime structures and armed groups that…