Guatemala Sends Former Dictator to Trial for Genocide

Paul N. Avakian writes in the Foreign Policy Journal, “against a long history of impunity, a Guatemalan high judge last month sent to trial a lingering genocide case against a popular former dictator who presided over the most brutal phase of repression during the country’s 36-year civil war.”

The article goes on to state that, “Ríos Montt’s defense for what he has called “excesses” committed during his reign has always been that he was an uninformed and uninvolved leader trying to bring peace to a country under siege, that soldiers had acted on their own in the atrocities. “His intention was only to restore order and cooperation among the Mayan-Ixil,” Ríos Montt’s lawyer has said of his client. “He did not determine the level of force that the Army used.”

But a packet of documents that surfaced in 2009, entitled “Operación Sofia”, that details the Army’s 1982 Ixil operations, says otherwise, according to experts. The packet consists of 359 pages of plans, orders, maps, telegrams and hand-written reports. “These records show chain of command communications up and down the line, and coincide with witness testimony,” said Kate Doyle, the forensic archivist who was given the documents by Guatemalan sources. “They provide firsthand evidence of Ríos Montt’s deliberate policy of repression and terror against the Ixil Mayans. But it should be emphasized that they became available to prosecutors not from the Guatemalan government but through leaks and accidental discoveries.””

You can read the full article here.

Categories: Genocide, Legal, Rios Montt

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