Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sentence of Dignified Reparations for the Ixil People

On May 10, Efraín Ríos Montt was found guilty of the crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, in an historic ruling that sentenced him to 80 years in prison. As ordered during the verdict, yesterday Judge Yassmín Barrios heard the reparations requests of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation and the Center for Human Rights Legal Action. Below we have translated a summary of the petitions granted to the plaintiffs.

The representatives of the survivors put forth an extensive list of petitions and made special mention of the women who suffered sexual and gender violence. In a trial filled with moving and powerful moments, the day in which women bravely spoke to an open courtroom stands out for many. Read more about their courage here

In a notable link between the crimes of the past and violence occurring in Guatemala today, the plaintiffs asked the government be ordered to respect Convention 169, the International Labor Organization convention stating indigenous peoples have the right to free, prior and informed consent on any projects taking place in their territories.
This and other petitions were not granted because the crimes and subsequent verdict relate to an individual –Ríos Montt- and not the state. Therefore, Judge Barrios highlighted, while certain mechanisms of the state will be used to carry out reparations, these are not state reparations.

Another denied request was the restitution of land taken from displaced Ixil victims, the only economic petition made by the plaintiffs. CALDH lawyer noted, 
Defense lawyers and social media hate speech have repeatedly accused the victims of being involved in this case for the purposes of financial remuneration.

Below we share the “dignified reparations” granted to the Ixil people, as mandated under the Guatemalan penal code.

Sentence of Dignified Reparations for the Ixil People

Today, May 13, three days after having issued the historic sentence condemning Ríos Montt, the High Risk Sentencing Tribunal A held a hearing to listen to petitions for reparations. The petitions were for dignified reparations for the victims of genocide and crimes against humanity for the Ixil people. The judges ruled the following:
  1. That the Executive Branch, through the Ministry of Culture, make a request to the Congress of the Republic that a law declare Mach 23 as the National Day Against Genocide. In addition, the Executive Branch must develop a program to disseminate the verdict, as well as respect for cultural diversity.
  2. The President, Minister of Defense, Presidential Secretary for Women’s Issues and others, must publicly apologize to the victims, in particular to the women who were victims of sexual violence. The apologies will be written on a parchment to be submitted to each of the municipal mayors in the Ixil region.
  3. Monuments honoring and remembering the victims of genocide will be erected in Santa María Nebaj, San Gaspar Chajul and San Juan Cotzal, in particular for the women victims of sexual and gender violence and the children who were victims of the genocide.
  4. Respect and recognition of cultural diversity, training on human rights and international human rights are to be incorporated into the training programs  of all prevention and security [institutions], such as military and police. 
  5. Create schools and study center in all three municipalities of the Ixil region. 
  6. The Attorney General’s office, in the form of a mural, will reaffirm their commitment to creating a system of justice that is respectful of cultural diversity.
  7. The Ministry of Education will create a moving museum that promotes respect for all peoples and peaceful coexistence. 
  8. Create a cultural center for the promotion of Maya Ixil culture. 
  9. The study of the Ixil genocide will be incorporated into education curriculum. 
  10. The National Reparations Plan will incorporate in their programs the category of genocide and crimes against humanity, so that victims may access [financial] reparations.
  11. It is ordered that the plaintiff’s institutions will follow-up on the content and compliance of the [reparations] sentence.
 Association for Justice and Reconciliation – AJR
Center for Human Rights Legal Action – CALDH

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