This is a truly ground-breaking and historic moment for Guatemala, and also the world. This is the first time that a former leader has been tried and convicted of genocide in their home country.
And while we celebrate this historic moment, let us not forget the oppression and violence still occurring in Guatemala as we speak. Let us also continue to be ever vigilant in our calls for peace, especially in response to the back lash of genocide denial occurring in Guatemala, and potential violence against witnesses, activists, judges, and prosecutors involved in the conviction of Rios Montt. May peace prevail.
On Friday May 10, at approximately 6:30PM, Judge Yassmin Barrios declared General Efraín Ríos Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. “Justice is a right for the victims; these acts should never happen again,” she stated.
Rios Montt was found guilty of masterminding and overseeing the massacre of 1,771 Ixil Mayans in the department of El Quiche, as well as the forced displacement of 29,000, and 1,485 acts of sexual violence and acts of torture. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison and was ordered into police custody. His director of Military Intelligence, Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, was absolved of both crimes.
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