Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rios Montt to go to trial for genocide and crimes against humanity

On Thursday, Efrain Rios Montt appeared in a Guatemalan court on genocide charges. During the hearing, the government presented evidence of over 100 incidents involving at least 1,771 deaths, 1,445 rapes, and the displacement of nearly 30,000 Guatemalans during his 17-month rule from 1982-1983 (Washington Post, BBC, Siglo XXILA Times)

Rios Montt did not speak during today's hearings, but it looks like he will be able to test his "I was never on the battlefield" defense. Tonight, judge Carol Patricia Flores determined that there is enough evidence to try Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecution wanted him incarcerated because of his potential for flight but the judge ruled that he can remain out on bail. He has now been placed under house arrest and will be watched by the PNC. 

A tremendous victory for the people of Guatemala and a continuation of what I believe has been a pretty remarkable year-plus of human rights advancement in the region.

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