Jo-Marie Burt writes in WOLA about a resolution of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ordering the State of Guatemala to protect Miguel Ángel Gálvez, the pretrial judge in the Diario Militar (Death Squad Dossier) case, and to guarantee his ability to perform his judicial duties free of external pressure.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued an urgent ruling for urgent protection measures as part of its mandate to monitor the 2012 judgment issued in the Diario Militar case (Gudiel Alvarez y otros vs Guatemala). In the 2012 judgment, the Inter-American Court found the State of Guatemala responsible for multiple cases of illegal detention, torture, extrajudicial execution and forced disappearance between 1983 and 1985 that are recorded in the military intelligence document known as the “Death Squad Dossier” or “Military Diary.” At that time, the Court ordered Guatemala to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for the human rights violations recorded in the document, along with other measures to provide reparations to the families of the victims.
Nine years later, on May 27, 2021, eleven retired military and former police officers accused in the case were detained. Since then, four others have been arrested. On May 6th of this year, Judge Galvez ordered that the first nine defendants be tried by a sentencing court. We analyzed the judge’s ruling and the campaign of defamation and criminalization in a recent article for El Faro. Before the case can go to trial, the judge must hold admission of evidence hearings. The evidentiary phase hearings for the remaining five defendants are also pending. Regarding these five defendants, two were among the original eleven arrested in May 2021, but the judge removed them from the intermediate phase hearings concluded on May 6th because their lawyers excused themselves at the last minute. The other three were captured between January and May 2022.
Some of the military personnel facing charges in the case are alleged to have close connections to current criminal structures.
You can read the full piece here, Inter-American Court of Human Rights orders urgent measures to protect victims and the judge in the Military Diary case.