Peru will not prosecute former President over sterilization campaign

Peru's former president, Alberto Fujimori, appeared in court in late 2013 on charges of funneling public funds to papers that attacked his critics. This weekend, prosecutors found he committed no crimes against humanity in a 1990's sterilization program.

Story highlights

  • The sterilizations were part of a birth control campaign to help fight poverty
  • Human rights groups say more than 2,000 women were sterilized against their will
  • About 300,000 women participated willfully in the campaign
  • A prosecutor says no crimes against humanity occurred

Peru will not prosecute former President Alberto Fujimori and his cabinet over a sterilization campaign that was part of a birth control program in the 1990s, the country's public prosecutor's office said Friday in a statement.

Prosecutor Marco Guzman concluded there were no crimes against humanity committed by Fujimori's government during the campaign carried out in a rural region of the country.

But human rights groups and victims may beg to differ.

They allege that sterilization was forced upon more than 2,000 women under Fujimori's government in an attempt to reduce poverty by lowering the birthrate.

Some women told stories of having their tubes tied without their knowledge or consent.

At the time, roughly 300,000 women participated willfully in the birth control campaign, human rights groups and government officials said.

The government's role in possible abuses related to the campaign involved the establishment of a quota system imposed upon doctors and nurses to sterilize at least three women per month, said Peruvian human rights attorney Rossy Salazar in 2011.

The original investigation into allegations of forced sterilization was shelved in 2009 but reopened again in 2011.

Fujimori, who led Peru from 1990 to 2000, is currently serving four concurrent sentences for corruption and human rights abuses. The longest is 25 years.