Guatemala


    A Noble Dream: The Tenacious Pursuit of Justice in Guatemala
    07.08.17
    Marcie Mersky (ICTJ)

    Bring General Ríos Montt and other high-ranking members of the military to trial in the Guatemalan courts for genocide? In 1999 it was a noble dream for justice for the thousands of Mayan victims of the country’s civil war, and for the entire country, but one with little apparent possibility of ever coming true. The UN-backed Guatemalan truth commission where I worked, the Historical Clarification Commission (CEH), had just released its findings that state forces had committed genocide in at least three regions of the country. The report vindicated human rights defenders and hundreds of...

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    Guatemala: How the Sepur Zarco Women lifted impunity for sexual violence
    21.06.17
    Laura Cools & Brisna Caxaj, Impunity Watch

    “The verdict has been obtained, justice has been achieved; sadness is no longer”, states Demecia Yat, President of the Jalok U Collective, which gathers survivors of sexual violence and armed conflict from Sepur Zarco and surrounding communities. During the Guatemalan civil war (1960-1996), in the military base of Sepur Zarco, 15 indigenous q’eqchi’ women were forced to clean the soldiers’ clothes, cook, and serve them without pay, while being subjected to physical and sexual abuse for months or sometimes years on end, receiving anti-contraceptive pills and injections to prevent...

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    Spanish justice catches up with Guatemalan ex-minister
    18.01.17
    François Musseau, correspondent in Madrid

    Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Roberto Vielmann, 60, has gone on trial in Spain for the assassination of eight detainees in 2006. The trial before Spain’s highest court for cases of terrorism, genocide and crimes against humanity is expected to last two months. Vielmann could face a sentence of 160 years’ imprisonment (20 for each assassination) and payment of 300,000 Euros compensation to victims’ relatives. Vielmann obtained Spanish citizenship in 2010 and has dual nationality. Since the beginning of the trial, he has denied the allegations against him.  “I have nothing to do...

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    The Case of Sepur Zarco Beneath the shawls, justice is served

    The Guatemalan justice system has said it was not a lie. Sexual violence within the Sepur Zarco military outpost was real. More than ten women had to wait 34 years for the State to acknowledge this fact. However, a much deeper story lies behind the sentence; a story of self affirmation, a process by which Guatemala was able to judge a crime that had not been considered as a violation of Human Rights after signing the Peace Accords. They are not the weakest women in Guatemala. On the contrary. They have had to go through a (personal and collective) process that has taken them over 30 years...

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    The week in review : Guatemala sets an example
    11.01.16
    François Sergent, Justiceinfo.net

    In this relatively calm week for transitional justice, the example came from Guatemala. This small Latin American country, which was torn apart by a bloody civil war lasting nearly 40 years (1960-1996) and leaving thousands dead, arrested 18 retired senior army officials accused of participating in massacres of indigenous people. Between 2012 and 2015, the remains of 558 adults and children were found in a former military camp. These unprecedented arrests came just days before the start of the genocide trial of former dictator Efrain Ríos Montt, charged in connection with the massacre of...

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    Guatemala: President Is Urged to Resign
    02.09.15
    Katell ABIVEN, AFP

    Guatemala's Congress voted Tuesday to strip embattled President Otto Perez of his immunity, clearing the way for him to be prosecuted for allegedly masterminding a multi-million-dollar corruption scheme. Hours after the resolution was passed unanimously by the 132 lawmakers present, a judge barred Perez, a conservative ex-military man, from leaving the country. The result gives Perez the dubious distinction of becoming the first president to have his immunity revoked in the Central American country's history. After months of unprecedented protests that have swept Guatemala, hundreds of...

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