After his trial was temporarily suspended, former Guatemalan dictator Gen. Efrain Rios Montt has been convicted of genocide and sentenced to 80 years in prison. But don’t be surprised if this does not last and the current president, who served in the military under Montt, finds some way to void the result.
A Guatemalan court convicted former dictator Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity on Friday, sentencing him to 80 years in prison, the first such sentence ever handed down against a former Latin American leader.
It was the state’s first official acknowledgment that genocide occurred during the bloody, 36-year civil war, something the current president, retired Gen. Otto Perez Molina, has denied.
“He knew about everything that was going on and he did not stop it, despite having the power to stop it from being carried out,” said Presiding Judge Yassmin Barrios. “Rios Montt is guilty of genocide.”…
A three-judge tribunal issued the verdict after the nearly two-month trial in which dozens of victims testified about mass rapes and the killings of women and children and other atrocities.
The proceedings suffered ups and downs as the trial was suspended for 12 days amid appeals and at times appeared headed for annulment.
I’m not gonna cheer until I see him in prison. Molina was one of Montt’s henchmen so nothing would surprise me. Nor will anyone who supported Montt in this country ever see justice, and there are a lot of people who deserve it. Both Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson considered him a close friend and both defended him vociferously against accusations of human rights violations. And Ronald Reagan praised him, supported him and continued to send him military hardware and aid even after the CIA had confirmed that his government was engaging in mass human rights violations.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: