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Caso Manuel Rubén Abimael Guzmán Reinoso y otros

Court Sala Penal Nacional, Peru
Case number 560-03
Decision title Sentencia (Judgment)
Decision date 13 October 2006
  • Manuel Rubén Abimael Guzmán Reinoso, et al.
  • Elena Albertina Yparraguirre Revoredo
  • Oscar Alberto Ramírez Durand
  • Margi Eveling Clavo Peralta
  • María Guadalupe Pantoja Sánchez
  • Laura Eugenia Zambrano Padilla
  • Osmán Roberto Morote Barrionuevo
  • Margot Lourdes Liendo Gil
  • Victoria Obdulia Trujillo Agurto
  • Martha Isabel Huatay Ruíz
  • Víctor Zavala Cataño
  • Angélica Salas de la Cruz
  • Rómulo Misaico Evanan (in absentia)
  • Carlos Espinoza Ríos (in absentia)
  • Gerardo Saenz Roman (in absentia)
  • Judith Ramos Cuadros (in absentia)
  • Ostap Arturo u Ostaff Morote Barrionuevo (in absentia)
  • Juana Teresa Durand Araujo (in absentia)
  • Hildebrando Pérez Huarancca (in absentia)
  • Víctor Quispe Palomino o Glicerio Alberto Aucapoma Sánchez (in absentia)
  • Gilber Curitomay Allauca (in absentia)
  • Raúl Allcahuaman Arones (in absentia)
  • Félix Quichua Echejaya (in absentia)
Other names
  • Shining path
Categories Human rights violations, Terrorism
Keywords damage to the Peruvian State, guerrilla, homicide, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), Terrorism
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Abimael Guzmán was the founder of the Shining Path, a guerrilla group in Perú. The aim of the Shining Path was to overthrow the Peruvian government. Between 1980 and 2000, the Shining Path was responsible for an extensive campaign of violence, including the killings of thousands of people.

Guzmán was arrested in 1992, and in the same year, a secret military court sentenced him to life imprisonment. This decision was found to have been based on unconstitutional laws in 2003, and resulted in the retrial of Guzmán and the other Shining Path leaders. The charges included terrorism, murder and other offences. The lower Peruvian court found Guzmán guilty of terrorism and other offences, sentencing him, and his second in command, Elena Iparraguirre, to life imprisonment. The other ten co-defendants were also found guilty, and received sentences between 24 and 35 years of imprisonment.

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Procedural history

The Peruvian government arrested Guzmán on 12 September 1992. In October of the same year, he was tried by a secret military court in Callao (Perú) that sentenced him to life imprisonment. In 2003, Perú’s Constitutional Court declared the national law pursuant to which Guzmán was convicted by the secret military court unconstitutional, overturning the conviction. This also allowed the possibility for Guzmán’s retrial. In 2004, Guzmán’s first retrial resulted in chaos. Because of this, the retrial was suspended.  

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Related developments

On 26 November 2007, the Supreme Court of Perú upheld the life sentence against Guzmán and Iparraguirre. The Supreme Court also increased the sentences of some of the co-defendants up to 35 years of imprisonment, and confirmed the sentences of others. See also EFE World News Service, Peru Court Upholds Sentences of Shining Path Leaders, 3 January 2008.

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Legally relevant facts

Abimael Guzmán was the founder of the Sendero Luminoso or Shining Path, a Maoist guerrilla group operating in Perú. Between 1980 and 2000, Shining Path conducted a violent campaign in pursuance of overthrowing the Peruvian government. As part of this campaign, Shining Path bombed numerous facilities, including bridges and factories, and massacred a large number of people. The most well known incident is the massacre at the Andean village of Lucanamarca (Perú) in 1983, where 69 villagers (including children) were shot and hacked to death as a retaliatory act for killing some of the rebels. Guzmán was captured and imprisoned in 1992. He led a rebellion that resulted in the death and disappearance of over 70,000 people. According to a Peruvian truth commission’s report in 2003, the Shining Path was responsible for the deaths of over half of the 70,000 people who died or disappeared.

The retrial against Guzmán and the other leaders of the Shining Path was based on charges of terrorism, murder, and other offences.

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Core legal questions

  • Can Abimael Guzmán and the other leaders of the Shining Path be found guilty of the charged offences?

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Court's holding and analysis

The Court found Guzmán guilty of terrorism and sentenced him to life imprisonment despite Guzmán’s claims of violations of his due process rights. Guzmán’s partner, and second in command, Elena Iparraguirre also received a life sentence. The other ten co-defendants received sentences between 24 and 35 years of imprisonment. 

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Further analysis

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Additional materials