Information on the penalty for desertion and the possibility of resigning from the police forces (follow-up to PER13463) [PER13707]

Please find attached a copy of a response on the subject prepared by the Andean Commission of Jurists (CAJ) in March 1993, and an article from an early 1991 issue of the Peruvian weekly newsmagazine Caretas.

According to the 1991 Caretas report, many policemen seem to have found that committing an offence was the quickest way to leave the police force (25 Feb. 1991, 43). The report states that a patrolman with an impeccable service record would not be granted a request for retirement, while a delinquent policeman would be quickly discharged (Ibid.). Although the report uses the term guardia, which, as explained in the attached CAJ report, is a subaltern rank, it is not clear whether the term in this article refers to policemen of that rank or to policemen in general. According to a researcher with the CAJ, the term guardia is colloquially used for referring to policemen, particularly to members of the Policía General (PG), a branch of the National Police that was formerly called Guardia Civil (GC) (25 Mar. 1993). What follows is a summarized unofficial translation of the attached CAJ document, provided for your reference (23 Mar. 1993).

A policeman can resign from active service in the police, either by discharge or by obtaining "availability" status (situación de disponibilidad, somewhat similar to a military reserve status). Policemen can be voluntarily discharged from the force for a variety of reasons, including age, sickness, judicial sanction and disciplinary measures. The policeman can also request his discharge without a stated reason as long as he has served for seven years in the case of officers, or for five years if the policeman is below the rank of officer. Regulations also state that policemen may not obtain "availability" status or resign when the country is in a state of emergency or exception and the person is carrying out a special assignment or service of a secret nature (Ibid.).

Policemen are subject to the Code of Military Justice. Trials for service violations stipulated under the law are conducted by the War Council (Consejo de Guerra) and Superior Councils of Justice (Consejos Superiores de Justicia) of the police forces, which are permanent tribunals subject to the Supreme Council of Military Justice (Consejo Supremo de Justicia Militar) (Ibid.).

Police personnel are grouped as follows: General Officers (Oficiales Generales), Superior Officers (Oficiales Superiores), Subaltern Officers (Oficiales Subalternos), Subaltern Police Personnel (Personal Subalterno Policial) (subofficers, sergeants, corporals, guards, students), Subaltern Services Personnel (Personal Subalterno de Servicios), Auxiliary Personnel (Personal Auxiliar) (armourers, teachers) and civilian personnel (Ibid.).

Desertion is a crime defined in the Code of Military Justice and it applies to those who abandon their compulsory military service or who fail to report for service after being called for recruitment. In case of war, the crime of desertion also applies to "officers of any rank or hierarchy of the armed forces and the police forces" (Ibid.). The Code also defines the offences of service abandonment and assignment abandonment (abandono de servicio and abandono de destino, respectively), and the penalties vary according to the circumstances and severity of the offence. The norms on this matter are rather extensive and are therefore attached in their original form. (Please note that the markings and shades in the copies of pages of the Code of Military Justice provided by the CAJ appear as received by the DIRB).

Additionally, the CAJ reports that by 31 December 1992, one quarter of Peruvian territory was in a state of emergency, a situation which would appear to limit resignations from force members who are on assignments of a secret nature (Ibid.). The CAJ also states that because of the intense political violence affecting the country and the resulting deaths of military and police personnel among others, and the difficult material and psychological conditions in which they have to work, particularly in the emergency zones, there have been a large number of requests to leave the forces (Ibid.). It is likely, however, that only a small number of these requests are being accepted, and at best the procedure for leaving may take a long time (Ibid.).

Additional and/or corroborating information could not be found among the sources currently available to the DIRB.


Andean Commission of Jurists (CAJ), Lima. 25 March 1993. Telephone Interview with Researcher.

_____. 23 March 1993. Fax Received by DIRB, Ottawa.

Caretas [Lima]. 25 February 1991. "Baja Policía."


Andean Commission of Jurists (CAJ), Lima. 23 March 1993. Fax Received by DIRB, Ottawa.

Caretas [Lima]. 25 February 1991. "Baja Policía," pp. 40, 42-43.