Indicted for Genocide: Guatemala’s Efraín Ríos Montt

The photographs of Guatemala’s disappeared spell “Justice” and “Genocide” on a fence near the Public Ministry’s headquarters in Guatemala City. (Credit: H.I.J.O.S.)
Indicted for Genocide: Guatemala’s Efraín Ríos Montt
U.S. and Guatemalan Documents Trace Dictator’s Rise to Power
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 419

Posted – March 19, 2013
Edited by Kate Doyle

Washington, D.C., March 19, 2013 – The groundbreaking genocide trial of Efraín Ríos Montt, retired army general and former dictator of Guatemala, opens today with the presentation of the prosecution’s first witnesses. The trial will take place despite repeated efforts by defense lawyers to halt the proceedings with legal appeals and a bid for amnesty. On March 12, the Constitutional Court rejected the amnesty request once and for all, clearing the way for the trial to begin.

Along with his former intelligence chief, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, Ríos Montt stands accused of masterminding a violent counterinsurgency campaign during his 1982-83 regime that sought to destroy opposing guerrilla forces and anyone who supported them. The indictment accuses the two men of responsibility for fifteen documented massacres in the Ixil region of the country’s Quiché department, resulting in the deaths of 1,771 unarmed men, women and children (…)

For ongoing trial summaries, commentary and analysis, see a new Website launched by the Open Society Justice Initiative in partnership with the National Security Archive, the International Center for Transitional Justice, CEJIL and the Guatemalan on-line news site Plaza Pública:

The Pursuit of Justice in Guatemala – The National Security Archive

The Pursuit of Justice in Guatemala

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 373
Washington, D.C., March 1, 2012 — Today marks the 30th anniversary of the coup that propelled General Efrain Rios Montt to power and launched the most violent period of the 36-year internal armed conflict in Guatemala. The National Security Archive and the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) mark the coup anniversary with the publication today of NACLA Report on the Americas, “Central America: Legacies of War,” containing feature article by National Security Archive’s Kate Doyle on “Justice in Guatemala.”