More than 28 years have passed since the massacre of more than 200 men, women, and children in the small farming community of Las Dos Erres, Petén. For 17 years, survivors and family members of victims have struggled to bring the perpetrators to justice, with the support of the Guatemalan Association of Families of the Detained and Disappeared (FAMDEGUA).
On July 25, the criminal trial against four former members of the Guatemalan military opened. On August 3, Manuel Pop Sun, Reyes Collin Gualip, Daniel Martínez Mendez and Carlos Antonio Carías López were convicted for their participation in the massacre. Each of the accused was sentenced to 6,060 years, with Carías López receiving extra time for having appropriated property of the massacre victims.
Of the accused, three served as instructors at the training academy for the infamous "Kaibil" special counterinsurgency forces of the Guatemalan military, while Carías López was the commanding officer of the nearby military base in Las Cruces, Petén. This is the first case in which Kaibiles have been sentenced for crimes committed during the war.
Two other former Kaibiles accused in the case await trial. Pedro Pimentel Ríos was recently deported from the United States. According to witnesses, he left Guatemala via helicopter shortly after the massacre in order to attend the U.S. military-sponsored School of the Americas in Panamá. Jorge Sosa Orantes, is detained in Canada pending an extradition hearing in August to determine whether he will be tried in the U.S. for immigration fraud, or in Guatemala, Spain, or Canada for crimes against humanity.