The Military Diary is a 54-page document that lists the names of 183 people who were captured and forcibly disappeared between 1983 and 1985, during the term of dictator Oscar Humberto Mejía Victores. In 1999, the document was anonymously withdrawn from the Guatemalan Military Archives and handed over to National Security Archives researcher Kate Doyle. Alongside each name is a picture of the victim and details of their disappearance, including the date and location of their kidnapping by state security forces, as well as personal information about the victim. The majority of the entries are classified as “code 300”, which was terminology used by the military to express that the victim had been executed.
The Military Diary has been authenticated by both the National Security Archive and the Guatemalan government, and provides an in-depth look into the systematic human rights abuses committed by the state against the civilian population. It demonstrates the government’s use of forced disappearance, torture, and extra-judicial killings as integral strategies in its counter-insurgency effort.
While a 2012 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights stated that the Guatemalan government has the responsibility to conduct a full investigation into the forced disappearances listed in the Diary and prosecute those responsible, there have been few advances in the case. Procedural issues are currently impeding the start of the trial.
Nevertheless, several elderly witnesses have already given their preliminary testimonies, including Aura Elena Farfán, president of the Association of the Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA). Her brother, Rubén Amílcar Farfán, a student at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City, was forcibly disappeared on May 15, 1984 and is one of the people listed in the Military Diary.
NISGUA, through ACOGUATE, provides regular accompaniment to FAMDEGUA as they search for justice for those listed in the Military Diary and others disappeared during the armed conflict.