Monday, November 12, 2012

IACHR Guatemala Guilty for Rio Negro Massacres

In September, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) found Guatemala guilty for the Rio Negro Massacres. 

Monti Aguirre at International Rivers has the summary:

Full details of the ruling by the Inter-American Human Rights Court:
  • The Court resolved that it was within its jurisdiction to address the issues of human rights violations relative to: forced disappearances, lack of impartial and effective investigation (by the State), lack of identification of executed people and disappeared, and the destruction of the community’s social network and forced displacement.
  • The State of Guatemala in turn partially recognized its international responsibilities for some of the human rights violations. Among those, the violations against the right to life, right of children, rights to personal integrity and right to personal integrity.
  • The Court recognized that today, member of the Rio Negro community cannot perform their funeral rituals because 17 disappeared villagers have still not been identified. And the Chixoy Dam flooded many of the sacred sites.
  • The Court considered that the construction of the Chixoy Dam and its reservoir physically hindered the return of the Rio Negro communities to their ancestral lands.
  • The Court ruled that even though the Guatemala State has made some efforts to resettle some of the Rio Negro massacre survivors, it has not established adequate conditions for repairing or mitigating the effects of displacement caused by the State.

What the Court Demands of the State of Guatemala:
  • The Court held that the judgment constitutes a form of reparation and further ordered the State to investigate, without delay the facts of the violations declared in the judgment, with the order to prosecute and eventually punish the alleged perpetrators.
  • The State must perform an effective search for the whereabouts of the forcibly disappeared persons and to hold exhumations and identification of persons allegedly executed, and to determine the cause of death and possibly prior injuries.
  • The State must make a public acknowledgment of international responsibility on this case, build the basic infrastructure and services for the Rio Negro community residing in Pacux, design and implement a project to rescue the culture of the Maya Achi and to provide medical and psychological treatment to the victims in this case. Compensation for material and immaterial damages should be provided and the reimbursement of costs and expenses.

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