Operation Chavín de Huántar

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Operation Chavín de Huántar
Part of the Internal conflict in Peru
Date April 22, 1997
Location Japanese embassy in Lima
Result Decisive Peruvian victory
Flag of Peru (war).svg Military of Peru Flag of the MRTA.svg Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
Commanders and leaders
Alberto Fujimori
Juan Valer Sandoval
Néstor Cerpa Cartolini
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).

The name Chavín de Huántar was chosen 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.[2] It is said that President Alberto Fujimori himself came up with the name.[citation needed]

The rescue operation was prepared and exercised in an exact replica of the residence located at the nearby Chorrillos Military School;[2] 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.

Key to the operation was the intelligence provided by Luis Giampietri, admiral of the Peruvian Navy at the time and former commander of a special operations group. He received and distributed 100s of bugged items in the building and himself communicated by radio with the Peruvian military.

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, ordered the execution of the only dead hostage, Carlos Guisti and Francisco Tudela who were political rivals of Alberto Fujimori.[3]

Legal actions[edit]

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.[4]


Alan García, president of Peru, ruled that every April 22, the country commemorated the day of "military bravery", in honor of the Operacion Chavín de Huántar, considered one of the most successful military rescues in a hostage crisis in the world.[5]

The government of Ollanta Humala will honor the soldiers who took part of the successful operation.[6]


  1. ^ Rochlin, James (2002). Vanguard Revolutionaries in Latin America: Peru, Colombia, Mexico. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-58826-106-9. 
  2. ^ a b "Japanese hostage crisis and Operation Chavin de Huantar". August 18, 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Montesinos mandó matar a vocal Carlos Giusti y a ex canciller Tudela". La Republica (in Spanish). [dead link]
  4. ^ "Peru Petition 136/03 Admissibility". Cidh.org. Retrieved 2013-09-22. 
  5. ^ "El rescate Chavín de Huántar, 14 ańos después" (in Spanish). RPP Noticias. 2011-04-22. Retrieved 2013-09-22. 
  6. ^ "Gobierno condecorará a comandos - Actualidad | Perú 21". Peru21.pe. Retrieved 2013-09-22.