Last march 7, the soldier Ephraim Lupaca Calderon (23) escaped in civilian clothes from the barracks Miculla, of Tacna, where he had entered only two weeks before to meet their voluntary military service.
His brain was injured. His instructor caught him and in the struggle hit him and broke the clothes. Lupaca managed to go to a minivan, where he was intercepted by more soldiers, who were expelled by the passengers. Then, he took refuge in a gym, where another contingent tried, unsuccessfully, to take it away. Hours later, spooked by threats that it would be processed, the soldier returned to the barracks accompanied by a relative and signed a statement in which he said that he was going willingly, he enjoyed good health and had never been the victim of any physical abuse or psychological.
Lupaca would be after that during the previous two weeks had been beaten and insulted by your monitor with the consent of his instructor.
A day later, on 8 march, the soldier Nixon Fernández Navarro (22) was attacked in the head with a stone by a non-commissioned officer of the barracks Strong Arica, also in Tacna. Fernandez had come late to a test by studying. The petty officer would have ordered others in the military who also beat him with a stick. The soldier ended up in the hospital with traumatic brain cranial and a crisis of paroxysmal type cystic.
That same day, another soldier arrived to the area of Trauma Shock of the Hospital Hipolito Unanue de Tacna. It came with the uniform wet and a box clear of hypothermia. The time came a few effective, and led him away. Days later his family received a sworn statement with your signature that you claimed that it had never been mistreated in the barracks.
Three cases on the same day and in the same region. Three cases documented by the NGO Human Rights Commission (Comisedh). It may be a coincidence. Or can that be a proof that the episodes of abuse of authority in the Armed Forces are more common than we all think.
The recent tragedy on the beach in Marbella, in lima’s districts of Magdalena of the Sea, is still in research, but has returned to the debate about a topic that already seemed forgotten: how, on occasion, what is understood as rigor, severity, and discipline the military can cross the lines that separate them from the irresponsibility or abuse.
It is true that we are not as in 2002, when the Ombudsman’s office recorded 174 complaints against the physical integrity of the recruits, of which 118 were tortured and 56 deaths.
But, according to institutions such as the Comisedh, which does not have so many complaints does not necessarily mean that there is less abuse in the barracks. The lawyers Dania Coz and Jackeline Pulls argue that the violence is institutionalized in the military life. And that change that will take time.
Between January 2016 and may 2017, the Ombudsman’s office received 23 complaints of attacks against the life and integrity in the FF.AA. Abuse, injuries and in two cases deaths: the cadet that died during a course of instruction in the Military School of Chorrillos, on the 17th of April, and the cadet who died in a display of parachuting in the same school, the last 8 of may.
Percy Castillo, deputy for Human Rights of the office of the Ombudsman, prefer not to advance opinion on cases that are still under investigation, but it is emphatic in pointing out what it is that you believe that is failing in the institutions of military.
–There are still some misconceptions about how to train soldiers. It confuses the proper conduct or forms of discipline with abuse.
The officer gives as examples not to let sleeping students stay up all night and / or awakening them violently.
Dania Coz, Comisedh, lists other practices that have come to his office: instructors who applied electricity to the soldiers, to bury them, leave them in a position of frogs for hours or force them to look at the sun directly, regardless of who that could be damaging your health.
–A soldier who has the shirt outside, for example, you can punish him with physical exercise, you make a frog or plates–he says. –But you can’t make them go through tests that exceed the tolerable limits of your body.
In June 2015, the cadet Rolando Huamán (24) participated in a march of campaign, along with 300 other fellow students of the Technical School of the Army (ETE). During that day, his instructor sent him twice to the «hollow fox», a hole dug in the ground in which the punished were «buried» and sand cast the top. The product of this punishment, and that you were unable to attend their appointments at the Military Hospital, Huamán developed glaucoma in the right eye. Need a cornea transplant. The School not only has taken charge of the operation, but that, because of their complaints –an attitude which they considered to be undisciplined– they gave him low, at the end of last year.
The excadete reported it to School officials. Requires the Army to pay for his operation and will return what you have spent on medications, procedures and attorneys during these two years.
The Comisedh has become aware of five other cases of alleged negligence and abuse of authority against cadets of the TEE. One of them, the object of beatings, insults and punishment to be unjustified on the part of cadets of upper-year, he ended up escaping. The lawyers of the NGO specify that this is not bullying. Were cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, were committed with the tolerance of agents of the State itself.
Punishment and repair
It is difficult to prove the abuse in the barracks and it is more difficult to achieve justice, but there are precedents for positive. In November of last year, the National Criminal court sentenced him to four years in prison suspended to the captain EP Marco Mendoza Mathews for having beaten and acted in an abusive way against the then second lieutenant Omar Chihuantito Gibaja, in February 2000. Mendoza forced Chihuantito to fight three times without protection against a companion course, against a student of the Navy and, finally, against his instructor in boxing. After falling knocked out, the second lieutenant he was beaten on the head part of the captain. Spent 10 days in a coma. Seventeen years later, still suffering from the aftermath of the beating.
But the precedent most important has been the judgment of the inter-American Court of Human Rights (Corte-IDH) in favor of Valdemir Quispialaya. In January 2001, in a target practice in the Barracks December 9, Huancayo, Quispialaya received a kickback in the front part of his instructor, petty officer Juan Hilaquita, as a punishment for having failed several shots.
Because of the blow, he lost vision in his right eye. He left the Army, was unable to find work or found justice. In 2008, the Prosecutor’s office of Huancayo considered that there was no evidence to formalize the indictment against Hilaquita. With the support of the Comisedh Quispialaya went to the inter-american system of justice.
In February 2015, before the imminence of the judgment of the Court, the Judicial Power of Huancayo re-opened the case. That year, in November, the Court issued its judgment. Among other things, ordered to continue the investigation and to grant a disability pension and an economical repair to Quispialaya.
But the most important was that, for the first time in the region, it was established that it is the obligation of the State to safeguard the integrity of the military to his charge. And that one should not confuse the imposition of discipline in the military with the commission of physical abuse and psychological. Something that continues to occur with frequency.