Battling a Cancer: Tackling Corruption in Peru, 2011–2014

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Abstract 

From 2000 to 2009, Peru’s justice system successfully prosecuted former president Alberto Fujimori and other high-level public officials for acts of corruption committed during the previous decade. But the country’s judicial institutions struggled to curb newer corruption networks that were operating with impunity throughout the country. Because the networks had penetrated the justice system itself, it was increasingly difficult to prosecute—let alone convict—people who had participated in briberies, kickbacks, or other schemes. In the 2011 presidential election, Ollanta Humala, whose slogan was “Honesty Makes a Difference,” captured 51% of the vote and gave a boost to reformers within the country’s legal institutions. Humala joined the Open Government Partnership, strengthened Peru’s anticorruption commission, and brought together top leaders from the country’s judicial and legal institutions to improve the government’s response to corruption. In 2012, the comptroller general, the public prosecutor (attorney general), and the president of the judiciary created a new subsystem to bring to trial those officials accused of corruption. They created a new prosecutorial team and designated a specialized chamber to hear the most-complex corruption cases. At the same time, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights strengthened its capacity to investigate and bring to trial cases involving the misuse of public resources. By 2015, several cases were in preparation, nearing trial. The fight against corruption in Peru continued to face many obstacles, however, including the perception that anticorruption efforts had lost top-level support.

Blair Cameron drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Lima in August 2015. Case published December 2015.

Keywords 
Prosecution
judiciary
multi-agency
judicial corruption
attorneys
Focus Area(s): 
Countering Criminal Economies
Anti-Corruption
Critical Tasks: 
Anti-corruption agencies
Building inter-agency cooperation
Civil service corruption
Enforcement
Investigation or referral
Legal structure
Organization and staffing
Prevention
Core Challenge: 
Coordination
Institutional traps (spoilers)
Reducing capture
Country of Reform: 
Peru
Type: 
Case Studies
Author: 
Blair Cameron