Joran van der Sloot, the leading suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005, was arrested in Peru in 2010 and charged with the murder of Stephany Tatiana Flores Ramírez in Lima. According to news reports, the reason that he has not yet come to trial is that there are no certified Spanish-Dutch interpreters in Peru.
While I do not question the need for quality interpretation for a criminal defendant, and am not surprised at the lack of certified Spanish-Dutch interpreters, I am nonetheless surprised at the delay. According to van der Sloot's former Peruvian lawyer, he speaks Spanish well, but someone who can communicate with his lawyer may still not understand Spanish well enough to follow court proceedings. What I wonder, though, is why he cannot make use of the services of a Spanish-English interpreter, of which there are, presumably, an adequate supply. Not only has van der Sloot been documented as engaging in a wide variety of activities in English, but he is a graduate of the International School of Aruba, a school whose language of instruction is English. In other words, he appears to be a fluent speaker of English.
What I wonder is, therefore, whether there is some quirk of Peruvian law whereby a foreign defendant must be supplied with an interpreter in his national language, regardless of whether some other language would serve. Are any of our readers familiar with Peruvian law, or is there another explanation for the failure to use a Spanish-English interpreter?