Ríos Montt to be Tried for Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in Guatemala

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Our partners at the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA posted this blog about a historic ruling for justice in Guatemala on January 28, 2013.  Here’s their blog:

A Guatemalan judge affirmed there was sufficient evidence against Generals Ríos Montt and Rodríguez Sánchez to proceed with the case against them. The first hearing will be held on Thursday, January 31.  

GHRC applauds the decision and joins Guatemalan survivors of the Ixil genocide in celebrating this step towards justice. We would like to share the statement released yesterday by the Association for Justice and Reconciliation(AJR) –  the organization that filed the Genocide case in 2001 – and the Center for Human Rights Legal Action(CALDH), which has provided legal support over the last decade.

*WALKING TOWARD JUSTICE*Photo credit: CPR-UrbanaPhoto credit: CPR-Urbana

 Today Guatemalan society is witness to a historic event. For the first time in our country, a judge has ordered the opening of a trial for the crimes ofgenocide and crimes against humanity. Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez ordered the opening of the public oral debate that allows the court to hear the respective evidence in this groundbreaking case. This step toward justice is of utmost importance for thousands of survivors of genocide in Guatemala.

The Judge of the High Risk Crimes Court has decided to take this step almost one year after indicting General Efraín Ríos Montt, more than one year since indicting José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, and after 75 legal challenges (incidents, injunctions, objections, appeals, etc.) to this case.

We value the actions taken by the Judge of the High Risk Crimes Court B and we hope that if the ex-generals’ defense appeals to higher courts, that these courts act in accordance with the law and take prior rulings into account.

Today’s ruling sends a message of hope for justice to those who still suffer the consequences of the internal armed conflict. It also sends a message to the material and intellectual authors of the genocide and crimes against humanity committed during this time period: that genocide, extrajudicial executions, forced disappearance, sexual violence and massacres, among other violations, will not remain in impunity.

This event represents the path walked by thousands of victims of genocide. It allows for the path of memory, truth and justice to continue, which offers a solid foundation for the construction of a more just country. We are hopeful that this case will continue on its course according to law and that soon we will have a ruling against those who ordered genocide in Guatemala.

For the right to a just country!
Association for Justice and Reconciliation – AJR
Center for Human Rights Legal Action – CALDH
Guatemala, January 28, 2013

This blog first appeared on Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA’s blog. To see the original version, click here.