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Peru to Establish Truth Commission

May 26, 2001

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ Peru will establish a truth commission to investigate human rights abuses committed by leftist rebels and government security forces during the 1980s and early 1990s, the justice minister said.

The commission will aim to clarify the causes and responsibilities for the political violence that left 30,000 people dead and at least 4,000 missing, Justice Minister Diego Garcia Sayan told reporters Friday.

He said a law will be issued next week to formally establish the commission. The commission will have seven members, who will be appointed by the president, he said. It will have 18 months to complete its work.

The Maoist-inspired Shining Path insurgency terrorized Peru for much of the 1980s and early 1990s, planting car bombs in Lima, assassinating politicians in the countryside and regularly blowing up electric pylons, plunging the capital into darkness.

Peru’s military and the Shining Path guerrillas both regularly attacked rural communities that were seen as sympathetic to the other side.

The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, a much smaller rebel group, is blamed for about 200 deaths since its inception in the early 1980s.

Rebel violence dropped off dramatically in 1992 after the capture of Shining Path founder and leader Abimael Guzman.

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