Peru: Recordings Reveal High-Level Judiciary Corruption

Published: 16 July 2018

373px-Martín Vizcarra Cornejo cropped

Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra Cornejo. (Source: Ministry of External Relations Peru, CC BY 2.0)

By Katarina Sabados

Several recordings of judges and ministers have come out that indicate corruption and embezzlement in Peru’s judiciary, Telesur reported Sunday.

The evidence is so damaging that Peruvian president Martin Vizcarra has asked the Minister of the Justice, Salvador Heresi, to step down, AFP reported.

On one of the recordings, judge and president of a regional superior courtroom, Cesar Hinostroza, is heard discussing the rape of a child that took place in April 2018 with an unkown person.

"How old is she? Ten years? Eleven years, but is she ‘deflowered’?" the judge asks. "Yes, I'm going to look at the file. What is it they want, to get the sentence lowered or to be declared innocent?" he says in the same conversation. 

That same judge is alleged to have helped in getting someone a job in exchange for free FIFA World Cup 2018 tickets. In a separate audio recording, he is heard discussing his travel arrangements and mentioning Peruvian Football Federation president, Edwin Oviedo.

Hinostroza was dismissed July 13th, and is banned from leaving the country pending investigation into these recordings. He claims he is innocent.

Another superior court judge and president, Walter Rios, was heard on a recording asking for an undisclosed amount of money for ensuring the appointment of a judge. 

"So, as a guarantee, I believe that he has to give some amount. ... As a guarantee, if nothing happens we give it back,” he is heard saying.

Rios stepped down on Friday. 

More recordings have been released that allegedly implicate three members of the National Judicial Council. 

President Vizcarra was appointed following the impeachment of former--President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski-- for “immoral conduct,” and buying congressional votes to avoid impeachment. Vizcarra took a firm anti-corruption stance, vowing to create a "Justice System Reform Commission" to put an end to rampant corruption within the judicial system.

Protests broke out late last week in Lima, after the initial release of the recordings.