Rios Montt Trial Annulled

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Yesterday’s annulment or suspension of the genocide trial of former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt and his chief of intelligence, General Rodriguez Sanchez, is a setback to the process of bringing to justice those people responsible for the more than 200,000 people who were killed or disappeared during the Guatemalan civil war from 1960 to 1996. The trial, which was due to wrap up soon, has heard the testimony of more than 100 people who were victims and witnesses to the abuses that involved 1,771 Maya indigenous women, men and children from the Ixil region who were killed, tortured, raped, imprisoned and kept as sexual slaves during Rios Montt’s tenure as president between 1981 and 1983. In recent weeks supporters of Rios Montt and the military have published ads in the Guatemalan press calling into question the veracity of the testimony and trying to downplay the war of terror that was unleashed on the population at the time.

The trial was suspended on a technicality which if it is upheld will mean that the trial will have to begin again at the pre-trial phase that took place in November of last year. 

The two plaintiffs in the case, the Association for Justice and Reconciliation and the Centre for Legal Action on Human Rights, are not planning to give up and with the brave Guatemalans who have stepped forward to testify, will continue to push this case landmark case forward. 

Amnesty International (UK) posted the this update on the trial yesterday. 

For more extensive coverage, see Democracy Now’s report and interview with investigative journalist Alan Nairn.

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