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Operation Chavín de Huántar
Part of the Internal conflict in Peru
DateApril 22, 1997
LocationJapanese embassy in Lima
Result Decisive Peruvian victory
Belligerents
Flag of Peru (war).svg Military of Peru
 United Kingdom
United States
Flag of the MRTA.svg Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
Commanders and leaders
Alberto Fujimori
Juan Valer Sandoval
Néstor Cerpa Cartolini
Strength
142 Peruvian commandos
SAS and Delta Force observers[1]
14 MRTA rebels
Casualties and losses
two commandos killed all rebels killed or executed
one Peruvian hostage killed

Operation Chavín de Huántar was a military operation in which a team of one hundred and forty-two commandos of the Peruvian Armed Forces ended the 1997 Japanese embassy hostage crisis by raiding the Japanese ambassador's residence and freeing the hostages held there by the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA).

It is said that President Alberto Fujimori himself came up with the name Chavín de Huántar for the operation because to make the incursion possible tunnels were to be dug under the ambassador's residence from adjacent buildings. Chavín de Huántar is an archeological site in the central highlands of Peru which is famous for its underground passageways.

The rescue operation was prepared and exercised in an embassy exact replica located in a military base; there the commandos practiced every detail of the operation, including the weight of the explosion to be used to open the floor of the embassy.

During the course of the assault on 22 April 1997, two commandos, one hostage, and all fourteen of the rebels died. The success of the operation was tainted by subsequent claims, backed by several witnesses, that at least three and possibly eight of the rebels had been summarily executed by the commandos after surrendering. There are also rumours that Vladimiro Montesinos, Chief of Military Intelligence, order the execution of the only dead hostage, Carlos Guisti who was an Alberto Fujimori political rival.[2]

In 2002, the case was taken up by public prosecutors, but the Peruvian Supreme Court ruled that the military tribunals had jurisdiction. A military court later absolved them of guilt, and the "Chavín de Huántar" soldiers led the 2004 military parade. In response, MRTA family members filed suit in 2003 at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) accusing the Peruvian state of human rights violations, namely that the MRTA rebels had been denied "right to life, the right to judicial guarantees and the right to judicial protection". The CIDH accepted the case and is currently studying it.[3]

Alan García, president of Peru, ruled that every April 22, the country commemorated the day of "military valorous actions", in honor of the Operacion Chavín de Huántar, considered one of the most successful military rescue in the world.[4]

The government of Ollanta Humala will honor the soldiers who took part of the successful operation.[5]

References

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