Alberto Fujimori, once hailed as the president who extinguished Peru's brutal guerrilla conflict, was found guilty of waging a dirty war against insurgents, kidnappings and massacres. Presiding Judges dismissed his claim that he had not known of extrajudicial killings and persecutions during his ten-year war against Maoist guerrillas? Icheoku says, this lame defense is akin to despots all over the world, who suddenly become naive and ignorant of their dealings while in office, once they fall from power. Like Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo who now claims that he did not know that his then vice president Abubarkar Atiku and others took bribes from Halliburton?
At 70 years old, the same age-range with Obasanjo, Fujimori is no longer a springs' chicken and with a possible 30 years sentence for his crimes, his life is now definitely over. Alberto Fujimori's campaign of “policy of pacification” against Shining Path during his 1990-2000 presidency, claimed the lives of more than 70,000 Peruvians? Icheoku says, how many Nigerians Obasanjo took their lives, directly or indirectly, is indeterminate; but suffice it that the well publicised Odi and Zaki Ibiam bloody suppressions are more than enough to put this monster of Otta, away for good? Fujimori's "I did not personally do it" defense fell flat as the prosecutor argued that his failure, as commander-in-chief, to stop the killings amounts to personal responsibility. Icheoku concurs with this valid legal argument of vicarious liability; as president, the bulk stopped on his desk! Fujimori was specifically found guilty of murder in the 1991 killings of 15 people, including an eight-year-old boy, at a barbecue in Lima, the Peruvian capital; as well as the 1992 raid at La Cantuta University that left nine students and a professor dead. Their charred bodies were found a year later after the incident. Like Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Alberto Fujimori was seen as a strongman with little respect for democracy and rule of law. What an act of fate that this two former presidents shared so much in common and should invariably be made to partake in the same fate, - a trial and jail term also for Olusegun Obasanjo? It is noteworthy that Fujimori is already serving six years in prison for abuse of power in relation to some bribery scandal and still faces two corruption trials, the first of which is due to begin next month in May. Human Rights Watch applauded the trial verdict as the first time that a democratically elected president had been brought to justice in his own country; and such promises to end “the tendency that has existed in Latin America for many years of impunity in the face of these type of crimes”. Icheoku adds, if only Nigeria could summon the courage to engrave her name in such a historic way by applying the full letters of the law to every citizen, including an errant former President Olusegun Obasanjo!