Evidentiary Hearings in Dos Erres Massacre Trial Set to Begin Tuesday

The intermediate trial phase against former special forces soldier Gilbert Jordán for his alleged role in the Dos Erres massacre is set to begin on Tuesday, November 17, 2020. Judge Claudette Domínguez of High Risk Court “A” will hear evidence against Jordán for his role in the 1982 Dos Erres massacre, in which Kaibil soldiers killed an estimated 200 men, women, and children.

Jordán, 64, is charged with direct participation in the murder of 162 people. He also faces charges of crimes against humanity and aggravated sexual assault.

The United States deported Jordán in March after he served ten years in prison for immigration fraud and for lying on his immigration forms about his role in the Dos Erres massacre. He admitted to U.S. authorities that he had been the first to throw a child into the community well, setting off a gruesome killing spree at Las Dos Erres.

While he was serving his sentence, Jordán testified against Lt. Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes, identifying him as the official who gave the order to Kaibil soldiers to “kill all the people” at Las Dos Erres. Sosa, who was extradited to the United States from Canada, was convicted in 2013 by a U.S. district court of illegal procurement of U.S. citizenship and for lying on immigration forms about his role in Dos Erres massacre. The court sentenced him to ten years in prison. Upon conclusion of his prison term he will be deported to Guatemala.

Manuel Farfán of the Guatemalan Association of Families of the Detained-Disappeared (FAMDEGUA), which represents the survivors and families of the victims of the Dos Erres massacre, told International Justice Monitor:

“Several eyewitnesses have identified Gilberto Jordán as the Kaibil soldier who initiated the massacre in Dos Erres by throwing a child into the community well. Exhumations FAMDEGUA led exhumations in 1994 that helped prove the army’s responsibility in the Dos Erres massacre occurred, and Guatemalan courts have convicted six men for their role in this massacre. We are confident that Judge Domínguez will find that there is more than sufficient evidence to send Jordán to trial.”  

Jo-Marie Burt is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies at George Mason University. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). Paulo Estrada is a human rights activist, archaeology student at San Carlos University, and civil party in the Military Diary case.