During the July 25 hearing in the Molina Theissen case, the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGN) requested that the Court admit as evidence the 2004 judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, as well as the Court’s resolution on the supervision of the judgment. According to the PGN, which represents the interests of the state of Guatemala and is a separate institution from the Attorney General’s Office, the Court’s resolution establishes that Guatemala has fully complied with the terms of the 2004 judgment.
IJ Monitor discussed this with Marcela Martino, a lawyer for the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), which has represented the Molina Theissen family before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. According to Martino, “It is absolutely … Continue Reading
The final phase of the preliminary hearings in the Molina Theissen case concluded this past week, opening the path to the criminal prosecution of five former senior military officials charged with the enforced disappearance of 14-year-old Marco Antonio Molina Theissen and the illegal detention, torture, and rape of his sister Emma. After several delays, the pretrial judge in the case, Víctor Herrera Ríos, finalized the review of evidence presented by the plaintiffs and the defendants on June 25.
The five officials, all retired, include two heavily decorated generals who were believed to be untouchable: Benedicto Lucas García, former Army chief of staff, and Manuel Callejas y Callejas, former head of military intelligence and presumed leader of the Cofradía organized crime syndicate. The other three … Continue Reading
The High Risk Appellate Court upheld the historic Sepur Zarco judgment this week after unanimously rejecting the three appeals presented by the defense counsel of the two military officials convicted last February in the case. The judges read the summary of the ruling in an open session on Wednesday afternoon.
High Risk Tribunal A, presided over by Judge Yassmín Barrios, handed down the judgment on February 26, 2016. The trial court found Lieutenant Colonel Esteelmer Reyes Girón, former commander of Sepur Zarco military base, and former military commissioner Heriberto Valdez Asig, guilty of all charges, sentencing them to 120 and 240 years respectively.
The court sentenced both officials to 30 years in prison for crimes against humanity against 14 women who were … Continue Reading
On July 19, the High Risk Appellate Court in Guatemala will announce its resolution on three appeals presented by two former military officials convicted last year in the historic Sepur Zarco sexual violence case. The appeals seek to overturn the February 26, 2016 verdict by High Risk Tribunal A, presided over by Judge Yassmín Barrios.
The trial court found Lieutenant Colonel Esteelmer Reyes Girón, former commander of Sepur Zarco military base, and former military commissioner Heriberto Valdez Asig, guilty of all charges, sentencing them to 120 and 240 years respectively.
The trial court sentenced both military officials to 30 years in prison for crimes against humanity against 15 women who were the victims of sexual violence and sexual and domestic slavery. In … Continue Reading
The following article profiles Édgar Pérez, the director of the Law Firm for Human Rights (Bufete Jurídico de Derechos Humanos), one of the main organizations representing victims in Guatemala’s grave crimes cases. The article and photos come from the news organization Plaza Pública and are being republished on International Justice Monitor with permission. The original Spanish version was written by Emiliano Castro Sáenz has been translated by Evelyn Recinos Contreras.
Pérez, in his office.
Édgar Fernando Pérez Archila has stayed out of the spotlight, even though he was the first to bring military officers responsible for committing grave crimes during Guatemala´s war to justice. He confronted Ríos Montt in the Genocide case representing the Ixil indigenous population, as well as the … Continue Reading
More than a year since a judge determined that there is sufficient evidence to send eight retired senior military officials to public trial in the CREOMPAZ enforced disappearance case, the proceedings remain tied up in a series of appeals and other legal motions. Victims’ organizations have told International Justice (IJ) Monitor that they are concerned that the delays in resolving these appeals may be intentional.
CREOMPAZ is a training site for UN peacekeeping operations located in Cobán, Alta Verapaz. During Guatemala’s internal armed conflict, the site was a military base, Military Zone No. 21 (MZ21), at the center of military coordination and intelligence. Since 2012, investigators from the Attorney General’s Office and the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG) have exhumed … Continue Reading
On Wednesday, the Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH), one of the civil parties to the genocide case against former dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt, announced that it is filing legal motions against three former judges of the Constitutional Court.
The motion alleges that the judges committed legal prevarication, or breach of duty, when they ruled on May 20, 2013 to partially suspend the genocide proceedings and thereby vacated the guilty verdict rendered against Ríos Montt by High Risk Tribunal “A” on May 10, 2103.
The announcement by CALDH coincided with the fourth anniversary of the Rios Montt conviction.
Photo courtesy of CALDH.
CALDH is calling upon the Attorney General’s Office to name a special prosecutor to investigate the charges against the … Continue Reading
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 … Continue Reading
A judge has determined that there is sufficient evidence to send former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt to trial for the case of the Las Dos Erres massacre. This is the second trial Ríos Montt will face in which he is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.
According to Guatemala’s Historical Clarification Commission, the Dos Erres massacre took place over three days in early December 1982 and was carried out by a counterinsurgency unit known as the Kaibiles. At the time, Rios Montt was de facto president and commander-in-chief of the army.
Over 200 residents of Las Dos Erres, a newly settled community in Peten, were killed in the massacre. Soldiers raped girls and women before killing them. They bludgeoned villagers, … Continue Reading
President Jimmy Morales invited the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to conduct its 57th session in Guatemala City, perhaps hoping to repair the country’s tattered relationship with the international organization. However, in extending this invitation, he may not have expected the court to be reviewing Guatemala’s own record on accountability for grave crimes.
During its visit, which took place from March 20 to 25, 2017, the court held a private, closed-door session to review the implementation of 14 sentences it handed down between 1998 and 2012 against the state of Guatemala in grave human rights cases related to the internal armed conflict. The session was a follow-up to a similar hearing held in Costa Rica in 2014, when human rights organizations … Continue Reading