Former Guatemalan Army Chief Accused of Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and Forced Disappearance

By Jo-Marie Burt and Paolo Estrada, on the IJM website, earlier this week.

Guatemala’s Attorney General’s Office presented its indictments against two of the three senior military officials charged in a new grave crimes case regarding the Maya Ixil genocide, which occurred during the military government of Romeo Lucas García (1978-1982). The indictments of Benedicto Lucas García, the former chief of the General Staff of the Guatemalan Army (and brother of the president), and retired General Manuel Callejas y Callejas, the former chief of military intelligence, occurred as part of a first declaration hearing that had previously been postponed.

Prosecutors allege that these three individuals, who were the most senior military officials during the latter years of Romeo Lucas García’s rule, designed and executed the military’s counter-insurgency strategy in the Ixil region with the objective of eliminating the civilian population, who they viewed as assisting the guerrillas. The scorched-earth policies resulted in mass killings of the noncombatant population and in the total destruction of Mayan villages deemed to be enemy territory. The army viewed the Ixil region, which is based in the department of Quiche and includes the towns of Nebaj, Chajul, and Cotzal, as guerrilla territory. The Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH) documented 626 army-led massacres during the country’s 36-year civil war (1960-1996); 95 percent of these took place between 1978 and 1984. Fifty-two percent occurred in the department of Quiche.

You can read the full piece, here, on the International Justice Monitor website.

Categories: Genocide, Human Rights, Indigenous peoples, Justice, Military, Violence

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