A Review of 2012

Genocide cases

Four ex-generals had been bound to proceedings for genocide and crimes against humanity. Nevertheless, on the 15th January 2012, the judge provisionally suspended criminal prosecution against Oscar Humberto Mejía Víctores because of his state of health and ordered that periodic medical evaluations are carried out. The lawyers of Héctor Mario López Fuentes have also argued that his own weak state of health means he should not be prosecuted. Besides these means, others have been presented. Challenges have been filed against the two judges in charge of the investigation, Carol Patricia Flores y Miguel Ángel Gálvez. More here.

In another case, which has its origins in the internal armed conflict, on the 20th March 2012, a sentence of 7,710 years was handed down against a former military commissioner and four ex-members of the Civil Defence Patrols for their participation in the massacre of Plan de Sanchez. The sentence was a recognition of each of the 256 assassinated victims. In addition, through the judgement, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education were required to put together an educational documentary about the massacre so as to vindicate the historical memory of the victims. The Public Prosecutor was required to continue its investigations into other perpetrators of the massacre. On the 26th September, the public defence appealed the sentence, arguing that those sentenced had been obliged and under threat and that the intellectual authors of the massacre should be investigated.

In case of the massacre of Las Dos Erres, after a first sentencing against four former military personnel in August 2011, on the 12th March 2012, a former kaibil (special forces) sub-instructor, Pedro Pimentel Ríos, was sentenced for his part in the massacre. The sentence against Pimental Ríos was the maximum possible, 30 years for each of the 201 assassinated and 30 years more for crimes against humanity – a total of 6,060 years of which 50 years are non-commutable. Also, the court ordered that compensation should be provided to the plaintiffs in the form of housing and that the sentence should be transmitted on the national TV and radio channels so that the history of the community is better known. More here

In August 2012, the former brigade chief of the National Police, Pedro Garcia Arredondo, was sentenced to 40 years for the forced disappearance of the student leader, Edgar Saenz Calitos, and to 30 years for crimes against humanity.

On the 4th September, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights passed sentence in the case of the massacres of Rio Negro and requested that the state of Guatemala investigates and brings to justice those responsible and also requests symbolic reparations to the victims.

On the 28th May 2012, staff of the Peace Archive received notice of dismissal from the Secretary of Peace, Antonio Arenales Forno, after he took the decision to close the Archive. Research published by the Peace Archive included chains of command, with dates, for the massacres as well as tortures and disappearances during the internal armed conflict.

The defence of land and natural resources

In 2005, high tension cables were installed among three communities of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, in the Department of San Marcos, close to the Marlin Mine, operated by Montana Exploradora, a subsidiary of the Canadian company Goldcorp Inc. Various people claimed that they did not ask permission to use their lands. One of them was Gregoria Crisanta Pérez Bámaca. Goldcorp Inc. For its part claimed it had a lease with her from 2004, something that Pérez Bámaca denies having signed.
In June 2008, Pérez Bámaca caused a short circuit in electricity lines that passed over her house, causing a break in the power to the mine. Some 150 citizens in the neighbouring villages united to protest the activities of the Marlin Mine and to show support for Pérez Bámaca. Eight orders of capture were sent against her and seven other women of the community. After a legal process with the support of the Movement of Indigenous Women, Tz’ununija, sentence was passed on the 18th May in which it was resolved to annul the arrest warrants, remove the electric pole from the land of Bámaca Perez, and of course cancel the lease.

There is a continuation of conflict generated by the presence of mining companies in the country, with social movements and environmental and human rights organisations protesting the lack of respect towards the results of community consultations. In the last number of months there is growing tension especially in the areas of <a href=http://gsntest.jocote.org/uncategorized/guatemala%3a-peaceful-resistance-in-the-face-of-violence/'s frustration that the present, and past, government failed to respect the results of a community consultation conducted in 2007, which rejected the megaprojects in the region. Despite the consultation, the government gave permission for the construction of the hydroelectric dam.

On the 15th May, a march was staged in Huehuetenango to ask, among other things, the lifting of the state of siege. This was lifted on the 18th, three days after the march, and so far 15 people have been detained for their supposed participation in the events. On the 26th May, two workers of the company have been charged with the death of the community leader on the 1st May. More



Categories: Guatemala, Solidarity in Action/Guatemala

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