Thursday, November 7, 2013

Survivors submit complaint against Guatemalan state for denial of justice in genocide case

Genocide survivors submit a complaint before the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights in Washington DC on November 6, 2013. Photo: AJR


Washington D.C., November 6, 2013 - Today, survivors of the Guatemalan genocide, along with civil society organizations, filed a complaint in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) against the Guatemalan state for the continued impunity  for grave human rights violations committed against the Ixil people. The complaint is based in the violation of the American Convention on Human Rights and other international human rights treaties.

In the complaint, organizations declare that the Guatemalan state has failed to fulfill its obligation to guarantee victims their right to  justice, given that after more than 30 years no one has been held responsible for the human rights violations suffered by thousands of victims.

Thus, the state is complicit, as according to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, "impunity creates conditions for continued human rights violations and the defenselessness of victims and their families."

Events reported to the IACHR, in relation to the case for the genocide committed against the Maya Ixil ethnic group, include more than 60 massacres and attacks by Guatemalan army soldiers that resulted in the murder of approximately 1,771 victims, as well as countless victims of forced disappearance, sexual violence, torture and forced displacement.

In addition, the groups denounced the deficiencies and irregularities in the resolutions emitted by authorities in the ongoing legal process against former army generals Efraín Ríos Montt and Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez. Examples given include: the lack of access the Defense Ministry's archives; judicial authorities' tolerance of abusive filing of injunctions, including those that are unconstitutional, and unnecessary delays in resolutions; the lack of legal basis and arbitrary nature of provisional injunction resolutions; the excessive length of the criminal process; attacks against judicial independence and the lack of protection for participants in the process.

In particular, the organizations highlighted irregularities characterized by the resolution emitted by three Constitutional Court judges on May 20, 2013, by which the process against the said former generals was annulled.

Given this situation, we the petitioners consider ourselves obligated to turn to the IACHR in the hope that the regional system for the protection of human rights can speed the processing of the complaint and assure international protection for victims in the shortest time period possible. Therefore, we ask the Commission to accept this complaint.

Resorting to the international justice system is a right enshrined in international treaties and in the Republic of Guatemala's Constitution. Thus, we turn to the Inter-American System of Human Rights Protection in order that the Guatemalan state fulfills its international obligations to uphold human rights. While impunity continues to exist, there will not be respect for human rights or full democracy in Guatemala.

For the right to a just country!
Association for Justice and Reconciliation - AJR

Center for Human Rights Legal Action - CALDH
Center for Justice and International Law - CEJIL

Guatemala's Human Rights Law Firm - BDH

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