Final Report
Our Work
Regional Offices
Agreements & Norms
Finantial Information
Balance TRC
Sessions with Institutions
International Seminar
Public Hearings
Disappeared persons
Photograph Project
Photo & Video Gallery
Press Releases
  Exhumations in Lucanamarca

Fecha de inicio:
9 de noviembre de 2002.

Press Releases
COMISEDH Report on the Exhumations

Informe sobre Lucanamarca: UnaTerca Esperanza

Last November 4th, the Joint Work Platform on Common Burial Exhumations made up by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Ombudsman’s Office, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Human Rights National Coordination Entity started the exhumation of clandestine burials located in eight places in the district of Lucanamarca, province of Huancasancos, department of Ayacucho.

For this procedure, the platform brought a group of experts made up by forensic anthropologists and archeologists and criminology experts, specialized photographers and auxiliary technical personnel. The procedure was in charge of Doctor María Isabel Barreda, coordinator of investigation tasks on Forced Disappearances, Out-of-Law Executions and Exhumations of Clandestine Burials in Ayacucho and Doctor Edwin Antonio Sánchez Salazar from the Mixed Province Prosecutor’s Office of Huancasancos. Mercedes Salado, a Spaniard representative of the Guatemala Forensic Anthropology Foundation participated as an expert and Luis Fondebrider, representative of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Argentina, participated as international monitor.

According to information provided by NGO Comisedh, which has carried out a study on this case, these burials were collective and individual and contained the remains of 69 people who were murdered on April 3rd 1983 by a Shining Path group that entered in Lucanamarca in the communities of Muylacruz, Llacchua, Ataccara and Yanaccollpa located about 4.000 meters above sea level.


Santiago de Lucanamarca is a district of the province of Huancasancos, located 10 hours from the city of Huamanga. It is comprised by the villages of San José de Huarcaya, San Antonio de Julo, Santa Rosa de Ccocha, La Merced de Tío, Asunción de Erpa and San Martín de Tiopampa and has an approximate population of 2.529 inhabitants, mostly women and children.

In Lucanamarca, the Shining Path started to act since the end of the 70s, according to versions of the population who remember that Huamanga University students and professor arrived in this town to enroll people. In 1982, the Shining Path “officially” entered the zone and carried out an assembly with the community, where it appointed its first local authorities.

The rules imposed by the Shining Path generated dissatisfaction among the community members, who decided to become organized in the Lucanamarca Self-defense Committee. In March 1983, community members from the Huarcaya village killed two Shining authorities. Then authorities from the Sacsamarca, Huancasancos and Lucanamarca districts decided to fight the Shining Path. Apparently, this decision provoked the violence response of the Shining Path leaders against these people.

Arrival in Lucanamarca

On November 7th, the teams of the Joint Work Platform for the Exhumation of Common Burials arrived in the Lucanamarca district after 10 hours of travelling from the city of Huamanga.

The next day, this team was received by Lucanamarca’s mayor, José Huaripaucar and his governor, Percy Tacas, who prepared a welcome ceremony for the delegation. The ceremony was a timely occasion for doctor Wilfredo Pedraza, responsible for the Special Investigation Unit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and for Jorge Salazar, representative of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, to explain the people about the activities to be carried out in that locality.

The Joint Platform representatives met the victims’ families, who recently created an Association of Families of the Victims of April 3rd 1983. They were told about the work to be developed by specialized experts and why the remains of their families would be taken to Lima to be analyzed and identified. At the end of this meeting, the families requested the construction of niches to bury the victims of this massacre so that the community could remember and have the remains of their relatives close to them.

Exhumation Process

The procedures were started on Saturday November 9. To carry out this work, two work groups participated and intervened the burials and cemeteries of the zone simultaneously. The first group was led by the Huancasancos Prosecutor, Edwin Sánchez and the Spanish expert Mercedes Salado. This group intervened the villages of Yanaccollpa (the remains of 27 people were recovered), of Asunción de Erpa (the remains of 4 people were exhumated) and of San José de Julo (the remains of 3 people were found).

The second team, lead by Prosecutor María Isabel Barreda and International Monitor Luis Fondebrider worked in the Muylacruz village (1 body was recovered), in the cemetery of Santa Rosa de Qocha village, (the remains of 3 people were exhumated), in the cemetery of the district of Lucanamarca (where the remains of 20 people were found) in the village of Ataccara (where the remains of 3 people were found) and in the village of Llacchua (where the remains of 8 people were exhumated).

The Relatives’ Valuable Support

Although intervention in these places had been programmed for more than 9 days, the experts’ team concluded their activities in less time, and this was possible thanks to the victims’ relatives’ valuable support. Besides cooperating with identification of their beloved ones’ garments, they also supported the experts in locating the places where their remains lay.

Identification of Remains

The exhumation of remains concluded on Thursday November 14th and the remains of 62 people were recovered. These remains are already in Lima waiting for the morgue work to be started, so the victims can be identified. To do so, the Joint Work Platform on the exhumation of burials is working out the details to start with this procedure. At the end of this work, the remains will be given back to their families, who will bury them in their place of origin.