Affront to Justice: Rios Montt Guilty Verdict Annulled
Posted on: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
MADRE denounces the ruling by Guatemala's Constitutional Court, annulling the May 10 verdict that found former dictator Efraín Rios Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, targeted against the Indigenous Ixil People.
Over 100 people testified about the brutal violence and massacres that decimated their communities over the months of Rios Montt’s regime in 1982-83. They spoke out about the military attacks that killed their loved ones, destroyed their homes and forced them to flee for their lives. Women testified to the deliberate and widespread use of rape and sexual violence to traumatize and terrorize.
The May 10 verdict finding Rios Montt guilty was a victory for the Indigenous Peoples who have organized for years, struggling for recognition of the human rights violations they faced. We are inspired by the bravery of the witnesses who testified and the determination of Indigenous Peoples to seek justice. Despite harassment and threats against their lives, they persist, even now in the wake of this outrageous ruling.
This trial has been marked by constant and politically-motivated attempts to shield Rios Montt and his co-defendant, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, from accountability for the mass killings and rapes that they perpetuated. In this latest set-back for justice, Rios Montt’s sentence of 80 years has been vacated, and he has been returned to house arrest.
As the trial process continues, MADRE remains steadfast in our commitment to stand with our partners in Guatemala demanding an end to impunity.
An Open Letter to the Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala (May 14, 2013)