Monday, May 13th, 2024

“Today the hearing was suspended due to a problem in the judicial branch network, which was defined as “unusual”. 

This made it difficult to connect the courtroom with the Military Medical Center, where the defendant, the retired general Manual Benedicto Lucas García, is being held. 

This unusual situation affected the testimony of 3 witnesses, 2 elderly women and a witness who traveled long hours to appear before the court, as well as 2 Forensic Anthropology Experts. 

We regret the situation as the consequence is the revictimization of the witnesses.” AJR – ODHAG.”

Tuesday May 14th, 2024

  • Juana López García, 50 years old, San Juan Cotzal

Witness Juana López, an 8-year-old girl at the time of the events, recounted that on February 2, 1982, her father disappeared. Her dad was summoned by a member of the community to go to the Xolotzinay military base and said he would return at around 1 pm. However, he did not return and the next day a man told them that her father and 5 other men had been murdered inside the military base. They had been ordered to dig a hole and get inside and were subsequently shot and killed.

The witness added that her father was a farmer and did not own any weapons, his remains were later exhumed from the base. The witness asked for justice for her father since she was an orphan. She stated that her father was never accused of a crime or sin and does not know why he was murdered. 

  • Juana Gómez, San Juan Cotzal

The witness recounted that in January 1982, her husband Antonio Toma Rodriguez, was called on by local authorities of the municipality to go to the Xolotzinay military base, he told her: “I am not going to hide because I don’t owe anything”. She added that their 15-year-old son, Domingo, left that day with her husband, but they did not return home. 

It was not until a few days later that she learned through her brother, who also went to the military base, that her husband and son had been killed at the base. Her brother was also killed by the military in his home in April of that same year. 

The remains of her son and husband were exhumed sometime later at the site of the Xolotzinay military base, where other bones were also found. 

Wednesday May 15th, 2024

In the morning, the expert witness Juan Carlos Gatica Pérez, was present to state his physical anthropology report findings that were carried out in a grave in the Estrella Polar community. 

The expert declared that the 68 skeletons of some of the victims of the massacre caused by the Guatemalan army on March 23, 1982, presented firearm projectile impact to the skull and ranged in age from 12 to 59 years old.

In the photo, the expert shows the High-Risk Court “A” the approximate depth of a grave where he conducted the expert’s report. Former military officer Benedicto Lucas García (on screen behind the court) observes with his arms crossed, from the Military Hospital, where he is being detained.

Photo: Courtesy