Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Justice for genocide in Guatemala

Efraín Ríos Montt is a former dictator of Guatemala. His 17-month regime in the early 1980's was a reign of terror, in which the indigenous Maya population was subjected to massacres and scorched-earth campaigns as part of his campaign against left-wing rebels. Now, he is to stand trial for genocide and crimes against humanity:

Ex-Guatemalan military leader Efrain Rios Montt is to be tried for genocide and crimes against humanity.


[P]rosecutors argued a rigid chain of command in the military at the time meant the general was responsible, even though he was not present at the killings.

Manuel Vasquez said he could present documents, videos and statements accusing Gen Rios Montt of "planning, designing and overseeing the military counter-insurgency plans against the indigenous population in Ixil de Quiche".

Mr Vasquez accused Gen Rios Montt of being behind 100 massacres in which 1,771 people were killed and 29,000 displaced.

Like other former South American dictators, he's been able to hide from this for a long time, using his immunity as a Senator. But now that immunity has expired. Its been slow in coming, but justice has finally caught up with him. And if Argentina is anything to go by, he isn't going to be the first...