The Guatemala Attorney General, Thelma Aldana, issued an arrest warrant for Congressman Edgar Justino Ovalle, in connection with the CREOMPAZ case, writes Jo-Marie Burt in the International Justice Monitor website. It is suspected he has fled the country.
Ovalle is a retired military official who is considered to be part of the “old guard” of military officers connected to the counterinsurgency operations of the 1970s and 1980s. During this period, according to the Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification, 200,000 people were killed, 93 percent at the hands of the military.
He studied at the School of the Americas, and is a founding member of the Guatemalan Association of Military Veterans (AVEMILGUA), an organization that denies military involvement in human rights violations. The group has also actively rejected efforts to hold military officials accountable for such abuses.
In September of last year, Ovalle was elected to Congress with the FCN, of which he is co-founder, and also served as the general secretary of FCN. This is also the party that brought president Jimmy Morales to power in elections last year.
The CREOMPAZ case is, according to the Attorney General, one of the largest cases of enforced disappearance in Latin America.
CREOMPAZ is currently a training site for UN peacekeeping operations located in Cobán, Alta Verapaz and during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict, the site was a military base, Military Zone No. 21 (MZ21). Since 2012, investigators have exhumed 565 bodies from MZ21, 142 of which have been identified using DNA as victims of the internal armed conflict.
Judge Claudette Domínguez, who is presiding over pre-trial matters in the CREOMPAZ case, imposed a travel ban on Ovalle in December, but revoked it again in January after Ovalle filed an appeal and The Center for Independent Media (CMI) has raised questions about Judge Domínguez’s impartiality in the case.
You can read the full article by Jo-Marie here.