Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Extradition to Peru former President Alberto Fujimori

Delivered in Plenary - 19th January 2006

Mr President

Speaking as a longstanding friend of Chile and Peru, the Fujimori extradition question is one of great interest to me. These two countries have very long memories, stretching back to the War of the Pacific in the 19th century, in which Peru lost Arica and Tacna to Chile.

Thus it is that bilateral questions sometimes, regrettably, are coloured by the cloud of revanchism and regional rivalry. This House must emphasise that this can play no part in the decision regarding the request for Fujimoriís extradition.

It is also clear that it has been a longstanding political objective of Mr Toledoís present government of Peru to seek the return of former President Fujimori from Japan to face trial on charges of corruption and human rights violations during the long conflict with Sendero Luminoso and Tupac Amaru. Indeed, Mr Toledoís officials raised this matter with me personally in Brussels last year during his state visit to Belgium. They requested that the EU raise the matter with Japan, and I agree with the previous speaker that we have been somewhat neglectful of this issue.

It is also alleged that Mr Fujimori was elected President for the second time, in 2000, following a fraudulent vote. Fujimori, as we all know, eventually fled into exile in Japan in November 2000 after his security chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, was exposed as having bribed a congressman. Fujimori then rediscovered his Japanese nationality, something which under Peruvian law would have forbidden him from standing for public office, particularly as president, under Peruís Constitution in 1990. It is scandalous, therefore, that Japan went along with this fiction.

Although this is now a matter for the Chilean courts, extradition always has a political dimension between sovereign states, so I hope that the judges in Chile will accept that Mr Fujimori has a very serious case to answer before his people, whom he let down so badly in the past.