Human Rights Trials in Guatemala: “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back”

Since the Efrain Rios Montt trial took place in 2013, there has been a steady stream of investigations and prosecutions for grave crimes committed during Guatemala’s civil war. Despite tremendous opposition from former military officials and their supporters, prosecutors and judges continue to take on these challenging cases in an effort to fight impunity in the country, which until recently has been the norm.

In a podcast produced by the Washington Office in Latin America (WOLA), George Mason University professor Jo-Marie Burt discusses the history of grave crimes cases in Guatemala, including the cases against Rios Montt, and the role that the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has had in strengthening the justice system charged with prosecuting these cases. Ongoing developments in the Dos Erres massacre case and the Molina Theissen case, which involves crimes of sexual violence, torture, and enforced disappearance allegedly ordered by Guatemalan military leaders, are also discussed in addition to other investigations.

You can listen to the full podcast on the WOLA website, which is available here.

For background on the work of CICIG, the Open Society Justice Initiative has produced a report and podcast examining the commission. More information is available here.