Photo: Higor Prestes via Unsplash


Court judgement with a signal effect: conviction of the murderers of Saweto (PER) after 10 years

On 11 April 2024, the Supreme Court of Ucayali in the Peruvian Amazon region found four defendants guilty of the murder of four Asháninka leaders in September 2014. The four murdered men, Edwin Chota, Jorge Ríos, Leoncio Quintisima y Francisco Pinedo, were known for campaigning against illegal deforestation in their region (Alto Tamayo-Saweto).

The horrific crime attracted national and international attention, not only because of the nature of the murder, but also because it highlighted the lack of protection for indigenous peoples and other environmental defenders. The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (Aidesep) highlighted the judgement "after almost a decade and a long road of impunity". It added that this sets a precedent for future cases of the murder of indigenous rainforest defenders. The regional organisation ORAU also welcomed the decision of the judiciary and called for the sentence to be enforced. Climate Alliance supported the organisation in mobilising the indigenous communities on the day the verdict was announced.