On the 31st August, 2009, former military commissioner Felipe Cusanero Coj was sentenced to 150 years of prison for the forced disappearance of six members of the community of Choatalum in the department of Chimaltenango, between 1982 and 1984. Although the crime of forced disappearance was defined in Guatemala in 1996, this case is the first to be sentenced in the courts in the country for this crime. The sentence therefore sets a vital precedent in a country in which over 45,000 people were forcibly disappeared during the 36-year internal armed conflict.
As an international accompanier in Guatemala, Nathalie attended the recent hearings for the trial and was in the audience as the sentence was read. She has written an article on the case and on being present at the hearings, which can be found on her blog (natyenguate.blogspot.com).