Peruvian constitutional court annuls treason complaint against President Pedro Castillo

The treason complaint had sought disqualification of President Castillo from public service for five years as well as his immediate removal from office

November 24, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Peru President Pedro Castillo
Peruvian Constitutional Court annulled the complaint filed by the opposition-controlled Congress against President Pedro Castillo for the alleged crime of treason against the country, on November 22, 2022. (Photo: Peruvian Presidency/Twitter)

On Tuesday, November 22, the Constitutional Court of Peru declared the writ of habeas corpus filed by President Pedro Castillo’s defense valid, and annulled the constitutional complaint filed against him by the opposition-controlled Congress for the alleged crime of treason against the homeland. The court also annulled the report prepared and approved by the Subcommittee on Constitutional Accusations of Congress, stating that it “violates the right to due motivation in parliament,” and ordered the Congress to end the proceedings.

The now dismissed report recommended prosecuting President Castillo for the crime of attempted treason for allegedly having offered to hand over Peruvian territories to Bolivia so that it could have access to the sea. It also sought the disqualification of the president from public service for a period of five years as well as his immediate removal from office.

Four of the six judges who voted to nullify the report argued that the report not only affected rights, but also harmed the presidential institution. They added that “the expression of opinions does not determine that they have criminal relevance.”

The complaint was raised by conservative deputies in March, which many viewed as an easier way to oust President Castillo after failing twice to garner sufficient votes to impeach him on grounds of alleged moral incapacity.

President Castillo’s lawyer Benji Espinoza deemed the Court’s ruling as historic and correct, adding that “it was legal hogwash.”

The decision came a day after a high-level delegation of the Organization of American States (OAS) arrived in Peru at President Castillo’s request.

Last month, on October 19, Castillo requested the OAS to activate the Democratic Charter and initiate a consultation process in the country with all the political forces and state powers to find a way out of the political conflict and put an end to the repeated impeachment attempts against him. Castillo declared that the right-wing opposition-controlled parliament, the prosecutor’s office, and other public institutions had been planning a coup against him. He requested the OAS to help his government and defend democracy and avoid rupture of the constitutional order in the country.

Since Castillo’s inauguration in July 2021, the right-wing forces in Peru have been promoting destabilization attempts against his government and trying to force him and his appointees out of power.

In his past 16 months in office, Castillo has had six investigations opened against him accusing him of alleged crimes of corruption, criminal organization, influence peddling, accomplice to collusion, personal concealment against the administration of justice, as well as plagiarism in his master’s thesis. He has also faced and survived two impeachment motions. Presently, the opposition parties in parliament are promoting a third impeachment motion against him. He has also been forced to reshuffle his cabinet three times and has changed over six dozen ministers over disputes and disagreements with the Congress.