A true victory for human rights. By prosecuting Rios Montt, it will strengthen the notion that people will be held accountable for crimes against humanity and genocide. I am especially glad that they have decided to hold him accountable for genocide, since the number of victims was not great (1,771 people). Some would say that this was just a consequence of war and that genocide requires many more deaths. But that is not true. Genocide is not and should not be determined by the number of deaths, but by the strategic and well devised plan to annihilate a group, in this case Indian villages.
On January 26, 2012, a Guatemalan court determined that there is enough evidence to charge former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt with genocide and crimes against humanity. The ruling marks a turning point in Guatemalan efforts to redress human rights violations perpetrated by the military against indigenous peoples during Ríos Montt’s “scorched earth” counterinsurgency operations in the 1980s.
Ríos Montt was the military leader for seventeen months in 1982 and 1983 after he took power and abolished the constitution. Prosecutor Manuel Vásquez told the court that he will produce documents, videos, and statements proving that Ríos Montt “had direct participation in the implementation of the plans” which resulted in the deaths of 1,771 people, 1,485 acts of sexual violence, and 29,000 Guatemalans being displaced.
For fourteen years, Ríos Montt had enjoyed immunity as a member of congress; however his term expired on January 14, opening the possibility of charges…
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