Really big news in Guatemala!

 

On my first day in the office at GHRC (an organization that I have interned and volunteered for for years) I remember seeing an activist mock wanted poster for Rios Montt for genocide. Now it is almost unbelievable that it is in the headlines of the national newspapers – “Rios Montt Accused of Genocide!”

 

Why is this a big deal you may ask? In Guatemala, the perpetrators of human rights violations and genocide have been able to live in impunity, often serving in official government positions, and even being elected president. For many Guatemalan, it is still not safe to speak about the horrors they experienced and witnessed – even 15 years after the end of the conflict. Up until now, there was no space for the public to confront its bloody and horrific past.

Now, in front of the entire country and the world, Rios Montt – a known and widely accepted perpetrator of human rights violations and acts of genocide – has been accused, and will formally be on trial. For the first time, Guatemalans will be able to discuss openly, and in a court of law, the horrendous crimes perpetrated by the government against the Mayan people during their 36 year internal armed conflict. Rios Montt will have to face these crimes, the court will decide if he is guilty, and hopefully he will be held accountable for his crimes and be brought to justice.

For more on the history of Guatemala  see my previous post here.
And, don’t forget to support Guatemalan Human Rights Defenders through EmaBee’s “Guatemala Initiative.”

 

May peace and justice prevail!

 

-Emily Willard (EmaBee)

Guatemala Human Rights Commission

(español abajo)

Statement from the AJR and CALDH, on the Jan. 28 decision to take Generals Ríos Montt and Rogríguez Sánchez to trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

WALKING TOWARD JUSTICE*

Today Guatemalan society is witness to a 6, cprhistoric event. For the first time in our country, a judge has ordered the opening of a trial for the crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity. Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez ordered the opening of the public oral debate that allows the court to hear the respective evidence in this groundbreaking case. This step toward justice is of utmost importance for thousands of survivors of genocide in Guatemala.

The Judge of the High Risk Crimes Court has decided to take this step almost one year after indicting General Efraín Ríos Montt, more than one year since indicting José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, and after 75 legal challenges (incidents, injunctions, objections…

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