José Luis Bustamante y Rivero

Peru International Court of Justice Luis Miguel Sánchez Cerro
José Luis Bustamante y Rivero
José Luis Bustamante y Rivero (1968).jpg
José Luis Bustamante y Rivero (1968)
Senator for Life
Former President of the Republic
In office
26 July 1980 – 11 January 1989
President of the International Court of Justice
In office
5 February 1967 – 5 February 1970
Preceded byPercy Spender
Succeeded byMuhammad Zafarullah Khan
President of Peru
In office
July 28, 1945 – October 29, 1948
Vice PresidentJosé Gálvez Barrenechea
Eduardo Ganoza y Ganoza
Preceded byManuel Prado y Ugarteche
Succeeded byManuel Odría
Minister of Justice, Instruction and Worship
In office
24 November 1930 – 31 January 1931
PresidentLuis Miguel Sánchez Cerro
Preceded byArmando Sologuren
Succeeded byElías Lozada Benavente
Personal details
Born(1894-01-15)15 January 1894
Arequipa, Peru Peru
Died11 January 1989(1989-01-11) (aged 94)
Lima, Peru Peru
Political partyFrente Democrático Nacional
Spouse(s)María Jesús Rivera

José Luis Bustamante y Rivero (January 15, 1894 – January 11, 1989) was a lawyer, writer, politician, and diplomat who served as the 33rd President of Peru from 1945 to 1948 and President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague from 1967 to 1970.

Early years

José Bustamante was born in Arequipa. His parents were Manuel Bustamante y Barreda, a lawyer and district attorney in Arequipa, and Victoria de Rivero y Romero. José married María Jesús Rivera in 1923. He received his early education in Arequipa at Colegio San José and obtained his Law Degree from the Universidad Nacional San Agustín de Arequipa in his native city and his Ph.D. from the Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad in Cusco. After a distinguished career as a professor and legal scholar, Bustamante became interested in politics.

Coup against Leguía

Bustamante reached political maturity as the author of the manifesto which launched the 1930 coup that ousted President Augusto B. Leguía. He soon earned the trust of Leguía's successor, Luis Miguel Sánchez Cerro, and began his new career in 1934 by serving as a diplomat, representing Peru as Peruvian Minister to Bolivia (1934-1938, 1942-1945) and Uruguay (1939-1942).

He ran for President in 1945 as a candidate for the Frente Democrático Nacional, a moderate, left-of-center party that aligned itself with Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre's APRA and the Peruvian Communist Party. Opposing him was the Legión Patriótica Independiente candidate, Gen. Eloy G. Ureta. Bustamante comfortably won the relatively honest election.


During his first seven days as President, Bustamante restored press freedom and full civil rights and freed all political prisoners. He also purged the Military, cancelled gambling licenses and took control of the expenditures of the national treasury. One of his important international agreements was to establish a 200-mile stretch of Peruvian sea.

As president, Bustamante hoped to create a more democratic government by limiting the power of the military and the oligarchy. Conflict soon arose, however, between the president and Haya de la Torre. Without the support of the APRA party Bustamante found his presidency severely limited.

The murder of the ultraconservative Editor Francisco Graña Garland, a prominent member of the Peruvian Elite (and bitter editorial enemy of the APRA Party), sparked a political crisis that was blamed immediately on the APRA's influence on the Government. President Bustamante y Rivero was forced to name a military Cabinet to tide over the crisis.

In October 1948, rebel sailors and officers seized five warships, locked up or shot their commanders, sent landing parties ashore under cover of a ragged bombardment. Shore-based sailors took over the Naval Academy, the Naval Armory, and the Real Felipe Fortress. After troops loyal to the government crushed the revolt, President Bustamante suspended all civil rights.

The insurrection, he declared, had been the work of the APRA Party. Under the President's orders, government troops occupied the APRA headquarters, seized the plant of its newspaper, La Tribuna, and arrested several prominent Apristas. But for the Military Cabinet, those moves were not enough. Postwar economic problems and strife caused by strong labor unions led to a military coup on October 29, 1948, which led Gen. Manuel A. Odría to become the new President.


While in exile, Bustamante resided in Buenos Aires, Madrid and Paris. On February 9, 1956, while Odría still in power, Bustamante returned to Peru, causing Peruvians great surprise. In 1960 he was elected a member of the International Court of Justice in The Hague and served as its President from 1967 to 1969.

In 1969, due to his recognition as an international jurist, the Organization of American States designated Bustamante as a mediator in the border conflict between El Salvador and Honduras known as the Football War, which ended peacefully after a peace treaty was signed on October 30, 1980 in Lima, Peru.

As a former president of Peru, Bustamante was ultimately elected senator for life from 1980 to 1989, as established by the Peruvian Constitution of 1979.

He died in Lima in 1989, aged 94, four days before his 95th birthday.

Published works

José Bustamante was the author of several judicial and other related works currently in the National Library of Peru. His published works include the following:

Political offices
Preceded by
Manuel Prado
President of Peru
July 1945 – October 1948
Succeeded by
Manuel Odría
Preceded by
Percy Spender
President of the International Court of Justice
1967 – 1969
Succeeded by
Muhammad Zafarullah Khan