Born in Lima Perú in 1959, Jose studied law at the Universidad Católica del Perú and graduated in 1984. With post graduate studies in Human Rights and Development (Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands) and Criminal Law (Universidad de Salamanca, Spain), he joined the Lima Bar Association in 1993 and founded Benites, Mercado & Ugaz Law Firm (now Benites, Forno & Ugaz).
External consultant to Dutch organizations HIVOS and NOVIB for human rights assessment missions in Costa Rica and Sri Lanka (1990–1991). In 1992, he joined the UN Peacekeeping Mission for El Salvador (ONUSAL) as Human Rights Official, and in 1993 was member of the UN Election Observers Mission for El Salvador.
Professor of criminal law at the Law School of the Universidad Católica del Perú (1986-2011) and member of the board of the Law School for the period 1995-2001 and 2008-2014.
Jose has been ranked first in “The Most Outstanding Lawyer in Peru” of the Survey of Power conducted by Semana Económica in year 2002.
He was appointed as Ad-Hoc Satte Attorney of the Republic of Peru in several corruption cases. In Fujimori–Montesinos case (2000-2002) he organized an office with 3 deputy State Attorneys, a Financial Intelligence Unit and a team of 25 people. During his administration, around 200 judicial cases were opened against more than 1,500 members of the Fujimori’s network, Montesinos was captured in Venezuela in coordination with the FBI, as well as other 120 members of the organization including the former Attorney General, President of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, Electoral Magistrates, Broadcasters and 14 Generals of the Armed Forces an Police. In his mandate, US$205 million dollars were frozen abroad and US$150 million were recovered from USA, Switzerland, Grand Cayman and Peru.
In 2002 he was appointed President of PROETICA, the Peruvian chapter of Transparency International. In 2004 he was elected as Peruvian Eisenhower Fellow for the Multi – National Program (United States, March – May) and later that year, joined the Institutional Integrity Office of the World Bank (2004-2006).
Member of the group of experts for the “Second Session of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Negotiation of a United Nations Convention against Corruption” (2002).
Since 2008, he is member of the International Anticorruption Conference (IACC) council, and Individual Member of Transparency International. Representative of Transparency International at the expert meeting of the MESICIC (follow mechanism of the Interamerican Convention against Corruption, Washington DC, March 22, 2010).
Expert member of the working group that prepared the handbook for practitioners in Asset Recovery (World Bank/UN, Vienna – 2009, Marsella 2010).
Author of “Caiga quien Caiga”, chronicle of the experiences at the Special State Attorney office of the Fujimori and Montesinos case.
Since 2017 is part of the Accountability Panel at Wildlife Justice Commission.
Elected as individual member of the Transparency International Board of Directors for the period 2011-2014. Elected Chair for Transparency International on October 2014.