The Guatemalan justice system decided to send two prominent military leaders to trial on Monday (8.30.2021), accused of committing the genocide of the indigenous Mayan population during the civil war that devastated the Central American country between 1960 and 1996.
Judge Miguel Galvez ruled at the end of a hearing that retired generals Benedicto Lucas and Manuel Callejas face trial for the genocide of some 1,731 Ixel indigenous people in the north of the country between 1978 and 1982.
“Today we celebrate justice, belated, but approaching the horizon of memory and the struggle for the dignity of the victims and survivors of the genocide,” the Association for Justice for Reconciliation and the Human Rights Office of the Diocese of Guatemala said in a statement. . , the plaintiffs in the case.
The complaining organizations noted that during the middle phase of the process, which began in November 2019, the judge gave “probative value” to nearly 200 testimonies, 148 expert forensic opinions and more than 70 military and historical documents by which he decided to send the retired military to court.
The Guatemalan government reported at the time that a third military officer involved in the case, retired Colonel Cesar Noguera, died in November last year.
Benedicto Lucas, brother of former President Romero Lucas, was sentenced along with Callejas and two other soldiers to more than 30 years in prison in May 2018 for the enforced disappearance of teenager Marco Antonio Molina Thiessen and the rape and torture of his sister Emma Guadalupe. in 1981.
Guatemala convicted former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt in 2013 of perpetrating the genocide of hundreds of Ixel’s indigenous people during his de facto regime (1982-1983), but the Constitutional Court ordered a retrial for errors in the process. Rios Montt died on April 1, 2018, at the age of 91, without having served his sentence.
gs (afp, Prensa Libre, El Periódico)
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