Violence against women and children is unfortunately a pervasive problem in Peru. So, for years every now and then there are demands for stiffer penalties for abusers and rapists; in case of child rapists even the death penalty is brought into play regularly.
Since the implementation of the Peruvian Constitution in 1993 already 8 bills to introduce the death penalty in Peru for child rapists failed in Congress. Nevertheless, yesterday members of the Fuerza Popular party once again announced to propose a draft law that allows punishing those sentenced for sexually assaulting minors with the death penalty.
While quite a number of Peruvians, celebrities and top politicians in Peru including for example the Minister of Justice Enrique Mendoza argue in favor of the death penalty in these particular cases, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski made clear that even though he can understand how people feel about unacceptable crimes such as rape of children, the Peruvian Constitution doesn’t allow the death penalty.
The Peruvian Head of State pointed out that those who commit such dreadful crimes must be punished severely and those of them diagnosed as mentally ill must be treated at a psychiatric hospital, but shouldn’t be condemned to death.
According to article 140 of the Peruvian Constitution the death penalty can only be applied during times of war and terrorism for treason.
And even if the Constitution is modified accordingly, Peru would still be bound to international treaties such as the American Convention on Human Rights which Peru ratified already in 1978 and which places severe restrictions on the ability to impose the death penalty and formalized a commitment to refrain from using capital punishment in any peacetime circumstance.
So, while we have once more extensive discussions and a huge media coverage about the death penalty for child abusers in Peru, the implementation of a possible corresponding new law and the probability that child rapists soon face death without renouncing internal agreements seem minimal at the moment.