Peru: The Integrity of the Peruvian Electoral System is at Risk Due to the Imminent Removal of Members of the National Board of Justice

March 7, 2024

Faced with the insistence of the Peruvian Congress to remove all or some of the members of the National Justice Board (Junta Nacional de Justicia, JNJ) through a plenary session scheduled for today Thursday, March 7, 2024, the undersigned international human rights organizations alert the international community about the serious consequences of this initiative for the integrity of the Peruvian electoral system, and for the independence of the justice system.

The JNJ is a central body for the protection of the independence of the electoral system in Peru. It appoints, evaluates and ratifies the heads of two of the three entities that comprise it: the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), in charge of organizing the electoral process, and the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) and the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status (RENIEC), in charge of issuing the electoral roll. Currently, the JNJ is processing the procedure for the ratification of these authorities, which would be interrupted if its members are removed.

The JNJ is also the agency that guarantees the independence of the justice system. It appoints, evaluates, ratifies and removes judges and prosecutors at all levels, including members of the Supreme Court and the Board of Supreme Prosecutors. That is why it also has jurisdiction over the judges and prosecutors that make up the National Elections Board and the special electoral juries, the third piece of the Peruvian electoral system. The removal of the members of the JNJ would affect the independence of judges and prosecutors handling corruption cases involving members of the Peruvian political elites, including members of the current Congress.

Our organizations have been following the continuous attacks from a large part of the Peruvian Congress directed at the JNJ, including constitutional accusations and motions to remove its members through summary proceedings not regulated by law as well as legislative initiatives to reduce the number of votes needed to remove its members or to modify their retirement age. These repeated attacks have been rejected on more than one occasion by all international human rights protection systems that monitor the situation in Peru.

We warn once again about the risks of these attacks, which reveal the depth of democratic deterioration in the country. We urge the Peruvian Congress to stop these attacks and to the other public authorities to express their rejection of these actions, which are severely damaging to Peruvian democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights.

Download joint communiqué here