Monday, March 11, 2013

AJR/CALDH: "First trial for genocide still set to begin March 19"


Today, March 11th, we were notified of a constitutional injunction ("amparo") filed by the military officials José Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. This action seeks to reverse Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez's decision regarding evidence in the oral public debate scheduled for March 19 by the Sentencing Tribunal "A" for High-Risk Crimes.

Earlier this year, on February 3, Judge Gálvez resolved not to accept the expert witnesses, studies, and documents proposed by the defense lawyers for the accused, due to the fact that they were presented at the wrong time. To clarify, despite the fact that the defense had more than a year to request the appointment of expert witnesses, they did not do this in the manner established by Article 315 of the Criminal Code.

On Sunday press reports circulated which misinterpreted the ruling of the Fourth Appeals Chamber, which authorizes a provisional injunction which only suspends Judge Gálvez's Febrary 4th decision relating to the rejection of expert witnesses, reports to be requested, and studies offered as evidence by the accused.

The Appeals Chamber's ruling does not contemplate suspension of the debate, only the Judge's earlier decision. We express our concern regarding the provisional injunction authorized by the acting judges of the Fourth Appeals Chamber, Criminal Division, Narco-activity and Crimes Against the Environment [the court which oversees "high-risk" trials], in light of the fact that Judge Gálvez's decision was legally correct and in strict compliance with Article 315 of the Criminal Code. We wish that the decision of the judges presiding over the chamber—Sonia Judith Alvarado López, Manuel Alfredo Marroquín Pineda and Luis Felipe Lepe Monterroso—were also legally correct.

At no point have we been notified by the Sentencing Tribunal "A" for High-Risk Crimes of any change to the date of the public oral debate. We invite all to witness this historic moment for our country, and to accompany the survivors in this important step against impunity.

For the right to a just country!

Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR)
Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH)

Guatemala, March 11 2013

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