Thousands of Peruvians marched Wednesday evening in Lima to protest against corruption in the justice system, after recordings of unproper behaviour by judges and members of the Council of the Magistracy were aired.The demonstration began from Plaza San Martin and toured Lima's historic downtown on its way to the Main Courthouse building and back to Plaza San Martín.
A flag, about 10 metres long, was visible, as well as banners with messages of rejection to the acts of corruption allegedly committed by councilors and Supreme Court justices.
No incidents were reported during the march.
Peru's President Martín Vizcarra on Wednesday launched a plan for a judicial reform to end the rot within that branch of government.
In audios broadcast between Sunday and Wednesday, judges and members of the National Council of the Magistracy, the body in charge of appointing judges, reportedly offered reductions of sentences, asked for favours or set rates for murky actions.
The serious facts known in recent days, where members of the National Council of the Magistracy and of the Judiciary are heard negotiating favours and rulings with total impunity, is a sign of the structural problem that affects our judicial system, Vizcarra said in a televised message.
The president warned Congress, controlled by the opposition, that urgent action was required. There is no time to lose, he said.
The judicial reform project will be drafted by a commission that must have its proposal ready before July 28, the anniversary of Peru's independence, when Vizcarra will address the country from the Congress.
The government's bill is to be reviewed and debated upon by the parliament, a stronghold of Fuerza Popular, the right-wing populist party led by Keiko Fujimori.
The legal stability of the country, at a time it seeks to attract fireign investors, was also addressed by the president.
The judicial system cannot be at the service of obscure powers, said Vizcarra, who went on to underline that without a good justice system, there are no investments or economic development.
In a new audio broadcast on Wednesday on TV the Chief Justice of the Superior Court (of appeals) of Callao, Walter Ríos, can be heard asking for a sum of money.
I'm thinking about 10 little green beans, the magistrate says, apparently referring to an amount of money in US dollars.
According to Vizcarra, the audios released reveal not only the enormous degree of immorality with which those who are called upon to administer justice do act, but also the existence of mechanisms, of vices, that pervert the judicial administration that must be eradicated.
In another audio, a voice presumably Supreme Court Justice César Hinostroza's, can be heard speaking about a trial for the rape of an 11-year-old girl saying What do they want? That their sentence is lowered or to be pronounced innocent?
The scandal led the prosecution and the judiciary to open investigations for alleged influence peddling.
Vizcarra had already asked Congress on Monday to dismiss the magistrates involved, after he was mentioned in a compromising dialogue. The president denied knowing the people who mention him.
I want to announce that my government will undertake this reform to build an effective, timely, efficient, transparent and incorruptible judicial system, said Vizcarra.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court ordered on Monday an investigation for alleged influence peddling after the investigative journalism portal IDL-Reporteros began releasing recordings of several telephone conversations on Sunday.
Videos or audios with allegations of corruption are not new to Peru's recent history. Two presidents have already fallen under similar scandals. Alberto Fujimori resigned in 2000 and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski did the same in March this year.