After the conviction and subsequent (illegal?) overturning of the verdict against Ríos Montt on genocide and crimes against humanity, there is apparently a deal of debate as to whether genocide was actually committed in Guatemala during the Ríos Montt de facto Presidency. It is interesting to note that his defence attorneys certainly didn’t argue this point.A piece by Laura Powell, of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, asks, ‘Confused about Genocide in Guatemala? Apparently you’re not alone’, and does a great service to aid clarity on this point. The relevant UN Convention states that, “Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious groups, such as: a. Killing members of the group; b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. On this basis, the two fundamental elements of the crime are: intentionality and that the acts committed include at least one of the five previously cited in the [list] above.” She goes on to state, “Individuals who do not believe that this happened—either due to a lack of information or because of personal support for Ríos Montt—are entitled to their own opinion. But denying that genocide took place in Guatemala, given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, raises grave questions over the motives of those challenging the grim reality that the Guatemalan ‘Silent Genocide’ did, in fact, occur.” You can read the full article here and if you know of any Guatemala genocide deniers, direct them also to the article.
Confused about Genocide in Guatemala?