Amnesty Denied For Former Guatemalan Dictator Facing Genocide Charges
March 2, 2012 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Guatemalan Judge Miguel Angel Gálvez ruled Thursday that former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt could not receive amnesty from prosecution for war crimes. Ríos Montt, who ruled Guatemala from 1982-83 during some of the bloodiest years of the country’s civil war, faces charges for the murder, torture, and forced displacement of thousands of Guatemalans, most of whom were indigenous Mayans. The ruling, which Ríos Montt and his lawyers will appeal to Guatemala’s highest court, could open the door for prosecutions of other former generals who ruled Guatemala during the period of conflict, as well as many lower-ranked members of the military. Judge Gálvez ruled that an amnesty law passed by Ríos Montt’s successor was invalid due to international treaties Guatemala had signed. According to Gálvez, “There are crimes like genocide and crimes against humanity that have no statute of limitations, and for that reason there can be no amnesty decree.”
Read more from the Washington Post.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
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- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said he was doing well Thursday in his first public address since undergoing surgery on a recurrent tumor in Havana, Cuba.
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- A free trade agreement between Peru and Japan took effect on Thursday.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said that she would work to establish direct flights between Buenos Aires and the Falkland Islands.
- Brazil’s foreign ministry said it was surprised the U.S. cancelled a $355 million defense contract with Brazilian plane manufacturer Embraer due to reported documentation problems.
- The Brazilian Air Force reported Thursday that air accidents in Brazil increased 42 percent in 2011.
Image: Surizar @ Flickr.