Rios Montt genocide trial resumed April 30th in Guatemala

April 30, 2013

DPLF applauds continuation of the trial and calls for sentencing without undue delays in accordance with domestic and international law

In March 2013 the oral phase began in the trial against Efraín Rios Montt (former dictator of Guatemala) and José Mauricio Rodríguez, his head of military intelligence. Both men stand accused of the genocide of at least 1,771 indigenous Ixil-Maya, between 1982 and 1983, as well as crimes of war against unarmed civilians.


Nearly a month later, the court had heard close to a hundred testimonies from families of those killed and survivors of the massacres, when the trial was interrupted to respond to an appeal for legal protection issued by the Constitutional Court that ordered evidence to be admitted that should have been received in an earlier stage of the trial. This interruption affected the rights of the victims to judicial protection since it occurred near the end of the trial and after a series of undue delays in the case. 


Since there are other pending judicial appeals to resolve that could further delay and even paralyze the oral arguments, DPLF calls on the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Justice to give their highest priority to the review and resolution of all these pending appeals.


DPLF notes that international law establishes the obligation of States to investigate and punish genocide, an extremely grave crime, with devastating consequences for the victims and the national and international community. DPLF also reminds the Guatemalan judicial authorities that in the investigation of these crimes it is not admissible to apply statutes of limitation, amnesty or any other legal mechanisms that impede an effective criminal prosecution.  

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