JUSTICE MOVES FORWARD,
IMPUNITY PRESENTS OBSTACLES
After 29 years of impunity for crimes against humanity and genocide committed during the internal armed conflict against the Maya People, on Thursday October 13 Judge Carol Patricia Flores indicted one of the intellectual authors of the genocide - José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez - who was the Director of Intelligence (G2) for the military high command from April 1982 to April 1983 in the government of Efraín Ríos Montt.
In 2001, survivors of the genocide launched a case against the 1982-1983 military high command made up of Head of State Efraín Ríos Montt, Minister of Defence General Oscar Humberto Mejía Víctores and General Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes.
After almost 10 years, the Public Prosecutor has culminated with the investigation of the case and solicited an arrest warrant for one of the implicated and has begun a judicial procedure.
We express our satisfaction with this arrest, which shows that Guatemala is beginning to create conditions to try serious violations of human rights committed during the armed conflict. We express our hope that the rest of the process will continue with events like this that strengthen the rule of law in our country.
Justice progresses, but impunity presents obstacles. Again, General Lopez Fuentes evaded justice. In the Military Hospital today, the judge was to determine whether the public oral debate could open; nevertheless, the genocidal general was found in a state of unconsciousness. It was unclear whether or not it was due to his medical condition or from having been excessively sedated, and as a result, the hearing could not be conducted.
While the judge and the litigants in the case were in the room of Lopez Fuentes, relatives of victims, survivors and activists made a floral carpet with the word "JUSTICE" in front of the main entrance to the hospital. In silence and holding hands awaiting the outcome of the hearing, members of the military attempted to intimidate those present by taking photos and requesting they not make the carpet.
Despite not having been able to conduct the hearing, we will not cease to demand justice and the prosecution of one of the most responsible intellectual authors of the genocide. This obstacle will not be the reason to stop. We will continue telling the truth, recuperating our historic memory and walking towards justice.
Guatemala, October 14th, 2011.
Association for Justice and Reconciliation - AJR
Centre for Human Rights Legal Action - CALDH