Guatemala ex-dictator must appear in genocide case 

Former dictator Efrain Rios Montt must appear in criminal court in a genocide case involving crimes against indigenous Guatemalans during his de-facto government in the 1980s, a federal prosecutor said Saturday.

The retired general must declare on Thursday before Judge Carol Flores, who will decide whether to go forward with genocide charges, prosecutor Manuel Vasquez said.

"We have sufficient evidence for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity," Vasquez said.

Rios Montt ruled Guatemala from 1982 to 1983 after a military coup and has been accused of mounting some of the worse massacres of the 1963-1996 civil war. He had legislative immunity until his recent term as a congressman expired on Jan. 14.

Rios Montt has said he operated in a war and is willing to face justice.

In the case in question, the military is implicated in at least 100 incidents involving at least 1,771 deaths, 1,400 human rights violations and the displacing of least 29,000, Vasquez said.

The case involves the country's first genocide charges against retired generals Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez and Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes, the army chief of staff under Rios Montt.

Crimes against humanity charges were suspended earlier this month for retired Gen. Oscar Humberto Mejia, the defense minister for Rios Montt who later deposed him to take over the presidency. The court determined that Mejia doesn't have the physical or mental faculties to go to trial.

Rodriguez and Lopez have also claimed health conditions have kept them from court proceedings. All are in their 80s.

The armed conflict in Guatemala ended in 1996 after three decades with the signing of a peace accords between the government and leftist guerrillas. The conflict left more than 200,000 dead and missing, according to a U.N. report, 93 percent of them by state forces and paramilitary groups.

The 1992 Nobel Peace laureate Rigoberta Menchu also has accused Rios Montt of genocide in a Spanish court.

Pin It

Speaking of...

More by The Associated Press

Latest in Nation

Monday, Mar 25, 2019


Most Popular Stories

  • No Stories Yet.

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation