Military documents handed to court

As we reported earlier the release of military plans to the court as
evidence in the AJR genocide case still wasn’t happening, despite
several court orders that they be supplied. However, finally, two of the
plans, Victoria 82 and Firmeza 83 have been passed to the court leaving Plan
Sofia and Operación Ixil still not handed over.

Back in 2007 a copy of Plan Sofia reached the hands of a prosecutor in
the Human Rights section of the Ministerio Público, according to the
report in “a partly clandestine manner”, which led to some doubt as to
whether it was genuine and a request for the Ministry of Defence to
confirm it. Their response has always been to deny that any such plan
existed. However, Prensa Libre published
a detailed
article describing what they found in it, having had some access to it.
They describe how Plan Sofia was a branch of Victoria 82, developed by
commanders on the ground, as Victoria 82 covered such a wide area that
each region had to develop its own detailed plan. There is an English
translation of the beginning of the article here which
sadly runs out before describing the detail of the plan and also some of
the operational reports which were also available at the time. Recently
a further article describing the content of all of these plans appeared
in elPeriodico
as another copy mysteriously appeared in the office of the President in
March. For a plan which supposedly doesn’t exist there seem to be a lot
of copies circulating.

One new element of interest in all this is the possible involvement of
Otto Perez Molina. The Rigoberta Menchu Foundation and Otilia Lux Cojti
allege that he is partly responsible for the effort to suppress the
plans as it would be revealed that he was involved in massacres.
According to Prensa Libre again Otto Perez Molina is indeed named in the
diary of actions associated with Plan Sofia. He was dismissive of this, though, when challenged.

During the period before the last presidential election I looked into
what documentary evidence there was which might implicate Perez Molina
in massacres in the area in which he was commander as there was also a great deal of interest in what dirty laundry he might have to hide. I found that the
Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica’s (REMHI) list of massacres lists
quite a few in the Ixil triangle which occurred between from April 1982
and to the end of that year, and a few in 1983. At the time the armed
forces were operating under the aforementioned plans, which have now been made available to the court. Perez Molina was
challenged about some of these at the time of the election but he
claimed that once he was put in charge then he told his men to gain the
confidence of the populace and there were no killings in his area.
Evidence was only circumstantial, but perhaps now more detailed
investigation will be possible.

In addition to President Colom’s initiative on impunity, he has also also created a panel to review and declassify military archives, so we can hope that more information will be forthcoming.

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Categories: Human Rights, Military

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