On May 10, 2023, the Caravan of Memory and Justice was held to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the historic genocide sentence of May 10, 2013, on which former dictator Efrain Rios Montt became the first head of state in the world to be sentenced in national courts for genocide and crimes against humanity committed by the armed forces in 1982-83 in the Ixil region.

During the trial in the same courtroom where the intellectual authors were present, more than a hundred survivors of the genocide testified, with their testimony they unmasked the structure of racism and oppression behind the genocide.

The commemorative caravan left the central park of Nebaj at 7:30 am. The Coordinadora de Organizaciones de la región Ixil, who organized the activity, estimated the participation of more than 600 people.

  • en un autobus, esta colgado una manta azul con imagenes de la ajr y unas letras blancas que dicen yo conmemoro para que no se repita //on a bus, is hanging a blue banner with images of the ajr and white letters that say "i commemorate so it does not happen again.
  • Una camioneta que va enfrente de la caravana con altoparlantes y un letrero que dice Memoria historica, verdad y justicia si hubo genocidio /// A van in front of the caravan with loudspeakers and a sign that says Memoria historica, verdad y justicia si hubo genocidio (Historical memory, truth and justice if there was genocide).

The Caravan of Memory and Justice arrived at its first stop, the central park of Chajul, where the demand for justice for all the crimes committed by the state security forces during the war was heard loudly: they recalled the 1982 coup d’état, the scorched earth, massacres and the genocide that the army committed in their communities.

In the plaza, one of the mayors of the Ixil Indigenous Mayor’s Office recalled that this sentence is important for the Ixil people, for the people of Guatemala and for the people of the world, because it was the survivors and witnesses who sat in front of a court of law several of those responsible for the massacres.


  • En la entrada de una iglesia, varias personas con su traje tradicional, autoridades ancestrales sostienen una pancarta blanca con letras rojas que dice: "El Pueblo Ixil si tiene memoria. Nunca Más ríos de sangre. At the entrance of a church, several people in traditional dress, ancestral authorities hold a white banner with red letters that reads: "The Ixil People do have memory. No more rivers of blood"

After the act in the plaza, a joyful batucada of compañeras accompanied the march to Cotzal. Rebeca Lane’s “La cumbia de la memoria” (The Cumbia of Memory) also played in the cars with audio speakers, as well as the unmistakable voice of Judge Yasmin Barrios as she read the sentence in 2013.

Among the banners and t-shirts worn by the participants, messages such as “No more Rios de Sangre” (No more rivers of blood) could be read.

  • Se ven tres mujeres vestidas de rojo, con tambores caminando // three women dressed in red, with drums walking
  • detrás de la marcha, se distinguen a un hombre y a una mujer de espaldas con una playera blanca que dice no mas ríos de sangre // behind the march, a man and a woman can be seen using a white t-shirth with red letters that reads: No more rivers of blood"
  • se ven las espaldas de los participantes de la marcha // he backs of the participants in the march are visible

Upon arrival in Cotzal, the ancestral authorities asked to “make the historical memory alive” and reaffirmed: “The sentence is valid and we are still here”.  The Indigenous authorities also called to continue the struggle for the defense of their rivers against hydroelectric plants and dams.

In their statement, the Ancestral Maya Indigenous Authorities of the Ixil territory of Nebaj, Chacul and Cotzal, expressed their solidarity with the victims of genocide in the region and with all those victims and survivors who have open cases of justice for state violence committed during the Internal Armed Conflict.

In the final part of their statement they emphasized “We need to live in peace. Let us not forget our history, not to seek revenge, but for our encounter and reconciliation as diverse peoples in this small territory that has abundant wealth, so that all those who live in our communities have a dignified life and not as we have until now, which continues to be genocidal”.

  • A man dressed in red is speaking with a microphone, behind them there are sitting several Ixil authorities. // En la esquiza inzquierda esta un hombre vestido de rojo hablando con un microfono, detras de el, estan sentadas en una mesa varias autoridades ixiles.
  • Una persona sostiene sentado en las escaleras un cartel rosado que dice memoria historica, verdad y justicia, si hubo genocidio. There is a person sitting in a stairs, holding a pink signs that reads: Historical, memory, truth and justice, yes there was genocide.
  • Letrero que dice, hagamos viva la memoria historica, si hubo genocidio en letras rojos // In a yellow cartel, there are green letters saying Let's keep the historical meory alive and in red: Yes there was genocide

After a lunch of paches, tortillas and a fresh hibiscus drink, the caravan continued on its way to the center of Nebaj, where closing remarks were given by representatives of local organizations, the AJR, CALDH and concluded with a musical performance by Fernando Lopez.

Ten years after the historic sentence, the families, survivors and human rights organizations tell Guatemala and the world that they remain firm in their search for justice.

  • en el fondo se ven unas mantas, en primer plano los tocados de dos mujeres ixiles sentadas en el publico. // At a second plane there are some banners and at the first plane, the traditional hair style of two ixil women