A chance at justice in Guatemala

The news that Efraín Ríos Montt was to stand trial on charges of genocide was widely greeted.

Kirsten Weld, in the New York Times, in recognising the bravery of the Guatemalan judge stated, “In greenlighting a public trial for the former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide, the judge, Miguel Ángel Gálvez, made his country the first in the Americas to prosecute a former head of state, in its own domestic courts, for the ultimate crime”.

This was the latest stage in this particular, and extraordinary, judicial process. Amy Ross, in Al Jazeera, noted, “His arrest in January 2012 – the judge ordered the former army general confined to his home – represented an extraordinary break with impunity in the Central American country; the decision to proceed with the trial, despite attempts to have the charges dropped, is of even greater significance. No ranking officer has been held responsible for the violence in which some 200,000 people, almost all civilians, lost their lives”.

Mike Allison, also in Al Jazeera, stated that the case may also cast a light on President Otto Pérez Molina’s role in the massacres that took place in the Ixil region during Ríos Montt’s de facto presidency.

You can read Kirsten’s piece here, Amy’s here, and Mike’s piece here.

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Categories: Genocide, Justice, Rios Montt

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