Retrial for Ríos Montt to take place behind closed doors

Legal battles over Efraín Ríos Montt's health have taken center stage over the past three months in the decades-long search for justice for genocide in Guatemala. On August 25, the three-judge tribunal ruled that Ríos Montt is mentally unfit to stand trial due to chronic and irreversible dementia. The court ordered that Montt be assigned a legal representative to allow for a special trial to continue without the former dictator's physical presence.Tribunal confirms mental illness, orders legal advocate represent #RiosMontt. Recess [...]

Ríos Montt ordered to undergo a full psychiatric review

"We can't allow the massacres in our communities to remain in impunity. We've already achieved our sentence, but we're ready for it to be declared a second time because we know there was genocide." - Julia Cortéz, spokesperson for the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR), plaintiff in the genocide case.Questions surrounding ex-general Ríos Montt's health and mental capacities took center stage on Thursday during attempts to restart the Guatemala genocide trial, ending in a court order to intern the [...]

Survivors call into question INACIF report claiming Ríos Montt too sick to stand trial

On Tuesday, Guatemala's National Forensic Science Institute (INACIF) published a report stating that former general Efraín Ríos Montt is mentally unfit to stand trial. The report was requested by Judge Carol Patricia Flores, the same judge who attempted to annul the genocide trial proceedings on April 18, 2013. The former de facto president was convicted on May 10th, 2013 for genocide and crimes against humanity inflicted against the Maya Ixil population during Guatemala's internal armed conflict. The Constitutional Court annulled the [...]

2015 US Appropriations Act maintains restrictions on US military aid to Guatemala

When President Otto Peréz Molina was elected in 2012, he came with an agenda to fully re-instate US military aid and end the restrictions on funding to Guatemala in place to varying degrees since the Carter administration implemented a direct security aid ban in 1977.Even before the Peace Accords were signed in 1996, the outright ban on military assistance to Guatemala had progressively weakened, with restrictions loosened for military training and other areas of military support. In 2005, the ban [...]

Interview with members of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation on the genocide retrial and suspension of proceedings

NISGUA sat down with several members of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR) to ask them how they feel about the genocide retrial and the events of January 5th, when lead Judge Jeannette Valdés was recused from hearing the case and the retrial was suspended. The departure of Judge Valdés means that the trial is suspended with no clear time frame for when the recusal issue will be resolved, leaving the process for justice for genocide once again in legal [...]

Genocide retrial: Recusal of judge leads to suspension of proceedings

"We know that genocide took place. The whole world knows it, but the truth has been denied." Juventino Caal, member of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR)Yesterday, a new trial against Jose Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodriguez Sánchez opened in Guatemalan courts and once again the survivors and witnesses were left clamoring for justice. The retrial came after the Constitutional Court annulled the 2013 proceedings, which had resulted in the conviction of Ríos Montt for genocide and [...]

A solidarity message to the Association for Justice and Reconciliation as the genocide case goes to retrial

January 5, 2015Dear members of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR),During this moment in which the Guatemala justice system is retrying the case against Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodriguez Sánchez, we here at NISGUA want to acknowledge this long process in search of justice and particularly recognize the bravery of the witnesses who testified during the first genocide trial. We are honored to have been able to accompany the AJR for more than 15 years, through difficult moments of complete legal [...]

Ixil communities of Nebaj express opposition to US-led extraction in their territory

"Historically, we have never received the support of the state or the government for our development, which is why it seems fair that we be able to take advantage of our own natural resources in order to improve the living conditions of our people according to our own vision of development." Letter from communities of Nebaj to US-owned Double Crown Resources Inc.In May 2014, US-owned natural resource exploration and development company, Double Crown Resources, Inc., bought the exclusive rights to all [...]

Worldwide action for the one-year anniversary of the genocide sentence

“We must raise awareness [so] that these kinds of events are never repeated, because the people of Guatemala want to live in peace, acknowledging our identity, our rich multicultural, multilingual [heritage] and the respect for the freedom of expression of our ideas.” -Genocide sentence (page 89 in English translation)Photo: CMI GuatemalaThis coming May 10, people around the world will celebrate the first anniversary of the Guatemalan genocide sentence against Efraín Ríos Montt.On this day, we will remember when the High Risk [...]

Interview with Judge Yassmín Barrios: “The door to impunity and corruption is being opened”

Interview originally published by El Periódico in Spanish. Translation by NISGUA.Judge Yassmín Barrios Photo: El PeriódicoJudge Iris Yassmín Barrios, presiding judge of the High Risk Crimes Court A, refers to the decision handed down against her last week by the Ethics Tribunal of the Guatemalan Bar Association (CANG in Spanish), in which her professional duties are suspended for a year and she is fined Q 5,040.Said sanction was motivated by [a complaint filed by] lawyer Moisés Galindo, who felt “humiliated” during the [...]