NISGUA continues live coverage of the trial in Guatemala of Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez for genocide and crimes against humanity.
Read our previous summaries: Day 1, 2, 3, 4/5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-14, 12, 13/14, 15/16, 17/18, 19, 20-1, 20-2, 21, Constitutional Court decisions, trial suspension and our full archive of ongoing live Twitter coverage.
In a context of legal uncertainty as appeals and resolutions make their way through the Guatemalan courts, Judge Jazmín Barrios reconvened the public hearings of the genocide trial on April 30. Proceedings had been suspended for almost two weeks, during which a whirlwind of legal battles and public demonstrations about the historic genocide trial took place.
The abbreviated proceedings were just over two hours long and focused primarily on fulfilling procedural requirements for the restart of the trial and responding to defense motions. Ríos Montt appeared with defense lawyer Francisco García Gudiel, while Rodríguez Sánchez appeared without his original defense attorneys. The defense counsel for both parties staged a dramatic walkout on April 18, after which the court assigned them public defenders. Court appointed counsel, Lidia Arévalo and Otto Martínez, were present at the defense table on Monday and were officially integrated as Ríos Montt and Rodríguez Sánchez’ (respectively) lawyers at the outset of the hearing.
Gudiel, who was expelled from the courtroom on March 19, was officially reinstated as Ríos Montt’s defense lawyer, as ordered by the Constitutional Court. He immediately filed a motion to annul all proceedings that had taken place without him, stating he could not adequately represent his client as he was not present for all hearings. The judges rejected Gudiel’s motion, citing the resolution of the Constitutional Court that “it would be illegal to reverse