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Saturday, May 28, 2022

State of emergency in Lima and Callao for 45 days: limited freedoms, interventions and possible abuses of authority

For 45 days Metropolitan Lima and Callao will be governed under a state of emergency that will seek to control the criminal wave that plagues both jurisdictions and, as a consequence, some constitutional rights will be suspended according to the Supreme Decree No. 012-2022-PCM. In parallel, the National Police with the support of the Armed Forces will deploy efforts to carry out interventions of various kinds, but what does this measure mean, how will the interventions be applied and what freedoms are limited in this context?

For the former Minister of Justice, Dr. Victor Garcia Toma, the state of emergency is interposed in order to combat anomalous circumstances, because “The Constitution is designed so that citizens and the State can carry out their activities in a normal way”.

“However, there are circumstances that would require the Government itself to is responsible for suspending some rights and increasing its powers in order to combat these anomalous circumstances, then after a short time return to normal”, he indicated in statements to this newspaper.

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Suspended constitutional rights

Along these lines, he explained that the first suspended constitutional right is that of personal freedom where “a person can be arrested without weighing on him/her a warrant or without being caught red-handed in a crime”.

He added that another suspended right is the inviolability of personal property, which does not require judicial authorization for the Police to enter the property of a citizen in order to carry out some diligence”.

The right to freedom of assembly is also limited so that people can’t congregate in order to carry out an act of public interest that requires a concentration in a public square or private space open to the public”.

About housing interventions

Regarding interventions in homes that could be carried out by the Police with the support of the Armed Forces, García Toma recalled that any intervention of this type It is with prior police intelligence work.

It is assumed that if one intervenes in a house in a state of emergency, there is an investigation or indications that within the property there would be elements that serve to commit the crime, (the Police) uses his discretion. The control of these acts is later”He said.

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What to do if I felt abuse of authority?

People who feel abuse of authority at the time of an intervention, according to García Toma, can file a habeas corpus that eventually it would not repair the detention or intervention of the property, but it could corroborate that the fact existed, was unconstitutional and, as a consequence, measures are adopted against the officers who participated, which could even reach their dismissal.

Asked if it is valid record an intervention during a state of emergencyGarcia said yes.

What guarantees that there will be no abuse of authority?

According to Víctor García Toma, the Constitutional Court has indicated that although it is a power of the Executive to decree a State of Emergency based on the information it has, the effects of its application can be controlled.

“For example, during terrorism when there were states of emergency, common criminals were detained at police stations and instead of being made available within 24 hours, they were detained for 15 days. The declaration cannot be disputed. but by means of a habeas corpus the abusive or arbitrary effects of its application can be questioned”, He said.

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Are marches allowed?

“The marches are going to be, the state of emergency is not going to prohibit the marches given the circumstances that the country is experiencing. Here comes the first problem the exceptional measure is delegitimized and it could be said that the state of emergency is being used to prevent protests or citizen claims, that is not correct”, precise.

Role of the Police and the “support” of the Armed Forces

The former director of the National Police of Peru, General Eduardo Perez Rocha, indicated that the PNP must have an operations plan to correctly fulfill the purpose sought by the state of emergency.

“This is a device where the concept of the operation is, before, during and after. This has an intelligence plan that indicates the trouble spots for the increase in crime”, indicated in an interview for this newspaper.

Pérez Rocha pointed out that based on his experience in these mega-operations, announced by the Ministry for the 45 days of the state of emergency, the right thing to do is to “Infinity of operations in all the districts of Metropolitan Lima and Callao, and not just one per day”.

“Second, there must be a personnel plan that indicates the number of police officers and vehicles, as well as military personnel with units and means that will be used in all districts”he explained.

Police intelligence work

For Pérez Rocha, the Police, before intervening in any house, will have to comply with the PIOL plan (Personnel, Operations, Intelligence and Logistics). “Based on this, it is identified where to intervene, it is not the fact of saying we are going to break this house, that is not… We have to see the number of personnel to use, I see that this has not been carried out”, he specified.

“The state of emergency complies with reducing crime, not presenting 2.2 detainees or 1,400 ketes. That’s not what was asked”, he declared.

On the support of the Armed Forces

“It has caught my attention when they say that the Armed Forces are going to support the Police with an external circle of security. Or is it really too much”, emphasized General Pérez Rocha.

He also recalled that the training and instruction of military personnel who will intervene in internal order is extremely important. We must know how many soldiers are going to support this work… I see that this is dangerous in total ignorance”, He said.

According to the Ministry, during the 45 days that the state of emergency lasts, the National Police of Peru will maintain control of internal order, with the support of the Armed Forces.

During this period, the Armed Forces are empowered to use force during the state of emergency in accordance with the Legislative Decree 1095 and its regulations.

Likewise, all military patrols will be attended by police personnel. In the event of their absence, military personnel will proceed to the arrest and put at the disposal of the police authority.

Similarly, military personnel has instructions to act decisively, respecting at all times the law, rules and internal regulations.

The Ministry of Defense outlined its role in support of the National Police.


Asked about the police action to call these marches in the midst of the political situation, General Pérez Rocha clarified that despite the prohibition of the tumultuous concentration, it must be remembered “what happened in the previous march (against Manuel Merino) and the PNP must already have intelligence about them”.

“Something similar must have intelligence to know where they will meet and where they will march. And there is staff to coordinate to move the march and provide security… this cannot be prohibited, but imagine. You have to have criteria and, above all, see how the previous marches have been”, recommended.

He emphasized that the authorities must be careful and prohibit people with fireworks, sticks or other objects that endanger the integrity of any citizen in these peaceful demonstrations. Coordination so that there is no problem of danger”, finished.

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