NISGUA continues live coverage of the trial in Guatemala of Efraín Rios Montt and Mauricio Rodriguez Sánchez for genocide and crimes against humanity. See our archive of live Twitter updates at @NISGUA_Guate.
Read our previous summaries: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4/5, Day 6, Day 7 and full archive of ongoing live Twitter coverage.
|“Their truth is our truth” Women in solidarity with survivors giving testimony on sexual violence|
At the close of proceedings yesterday, April 1st, day 7 of the genocide trial, the public prosecutor’s office requested the judges close the courtroom in order to hear the testimony of women who survived sexual violence at the hands of the military. Lawyers for the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR) shared the pleas of one of the witnesses, “She begged, that is the word she used, that her name not be published. ‘If my family finds out I will be beaten. My family doesn’t know.'”
The judges, wishing to maintain an open and public trial, denied the request. They asked that press and media respect the women’s requests not to be identified in photos and allowed for the women to appear with their faces covered.
|“Justice”: Victims’ quilt from Alta Verapaz hung outside the courtroom|
Activities took place this morning in the plaza while inside the courtroom was filled with supporters from human rights and women’s organizations. Women sat in the first rows of the gallery and covered themselves with Guatemalan weavings, in solidarity with the women survivors who would be coming in covered with traditional Maya Ixil cloths to hide their identities.
In the words of one of the morning witnesses, “I’m here, maybe we are covering our faces but I’m going to say what they did to me.”
|“We are all Ixiles”: Theatre performance on steps of courthouse|
After Pedro Pacheco Bop testified about a massacre in Chel on April 3, 1982, the women’s testimony began. One by one the women came with their faces fully covered, guided by supporters. In addition to Pacheco Bop, 12 women gave their testimony today, 10 of whom testified about the brutal sexual violence they suffered at the hands of the Guatemalan military.