Zoraida Avalos sworn in as Attorney General of Peru

11:49 | Lima, Mar. 29.

Magistrate Zoraida Avalos on Friday was sworn in as the Attorney General of Peru for the next three years.

In her speech —after taking the oath of office— Avalos affirmed her administration will be neutral and impartial.

"I'm not moved by hatred and resentment. I do not have any commitments or conflicts with anyone. I'm just committed to the pursuit of truth and justice," she expressed.

In this sense, Avalos said her efforts will focus on ensuring the Public Ministry's autonomy from political or subordinate interference. In Peru, the Attorney General is independent from the Executive Branch.

Additionally, she said a zero-tolerance policy against corruption will be adopted and reiterated her support for emblematic investigations over the Lava Jato, Port's White Collars, and Orellana cases.

The ceremony took place at the Public Ministry's headquarters in the presence of Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra, Congress Chairman Daniel Salaverry, and Judicial Branch Chairman Jose Luis Lecaros.

Also attending were Supreme Prosecutors Pablo Sanchez, Victor Rodriguez, and Tomas Galvez. 

Former Attorney General Pedro Chavarry decided not to attend the swearing-in of his successor.

Interim Attorney General

Last January, Avalos assumed the post of interim Attorney General to replace Pedro Chavarry, who stepped down from the job amid widespread unrest following his decision to remove the top prosecutors investigating the Lava Jato case, which was subsequently reversed.

As interim Attorney General, Avalos decided to declare the Public Ministry in a state of emergency in order to regain citizens' trust in the institution.

Removal and reinstatement

Former Attorney General Pedro Chavarry —on New Year's Eve— decided to remove Prosecutors Rafael Vela and Jose Domingo Perez from the Lava Jato case.

Said decision brought protestors to the streets in several cities across the Inca country.

The removal of the top prosecutors investigating the case did harm the agreement and, therefore, the investigation.

On January 2, Chavarry reversed his decision by reinstating Lava Jato Case Prosecutors Vela and Perez in their posts.

Lava Jato Case Special Prosecution Group Coordinator Vela had previously affirmed there was hostility against the Odebrecht investigation prosecutors. Reports suggested the existence of friction between his team and the then-Attorney General.

In Peru, the Attorney General is not designated or confirmed by the President of the Republic. In fact, President Vizcarra had expressed his full support to the continuation of Prosecutors Vela and Perez in the case.


Published: 3/29/2019