It was the 19th time Garcia has been questioned about the massacre and the first since he was elected to a second term as president last year.

   

A lawyer for the families of those killed in the riot said Garcia again testified that he did not order the attack on El Fronton despite former cabinet members saying he did.

   

"Garcia basically reiterated the statements he made a few years ago... That, unfortunately, is contradicted by testimony from others in the case," said lawyer Carlos Rivero, who was present during Garcia's questioning.

   

The president dismissed the criticism. "This is just a strategy to make the state look like the loser in the political war against the Shining Path," he said.

   

Shining Path rebels led one of Latin America's bloodiest insurgencies in the 1980s and 1990s, but were finally defeated by the government of Alberto Fujimori, former president.