PAST IMPUNITY IS PRESENT IMPUNITY
43 years after the massacre committed at the Spanish Embassy, the undersigned organizations, members of the No More Genocide Coalition, which brings together organizations of relatives of victims, victims themselves of the direct repression committed by the Guatemalan Army in our communities against the non-combatant civilian population during the Internal Armed Conflict, and social organizations, publicly declare nationally and internationally:
For more than 30 years, we have organized under the protection of our constitutional right to justice, to memory, and to the truth about the atrocities committed against our daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, and grandparents who were massacred indiscriminately, disappeared, tortured, raped, and murdered.
We are here to accompany the fight for justice: in order for the State of Guatemala, via the Public Ministry, to complete its obligation to investigate and clarify what happened, to identify those responsible for the crimes against us, for the courts and judges to judge in accordance with the law and serve justice so that events are not repeated, to return the remains of our family members who were detained and disappeared, to allow us to bury our loved ones with dignity and according to our customs, beliefs, and traditions.
Since the years between 2009 and 2018, thanks to the bravery of the mothers and grandparents who survived State terrorism, accompanied by the Public Ministry in full compliance with its constitutional function, we succeeded in going to trial and obtaining sentences in high impact cases, in which the justice system acted in accordance with the law, including: Forced Disappearance in Choatalum, Chimaltenango; the Sánchez Plan Massacre in Rabinal; the Dos Erres Massacre in Petén; the genocide in the Ixil region during the Ríos Montt Administration; violence and sexual enslavement in Sepur Zarco, El Polochic; the Massacre of the burning of the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala; the disappearance of Marco Antonio Molina Theissen and sexual violence against Emma Guadalupe Molina Theissen.
However, since the arrival of the administrations of Jimmy Morales and Alejandro Giammattei Falla, a policy of impunity has been implemented to corrupt the power of legislation and the judicial system. They have imposed an opaque Attorney General and magistrates (lay judges), who are attached to corruption and impunity and currently favor mafias of all kinds, especially the most reactionary and criminal military sector that exercises corrupt influence in the Supreme Court of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the courts and the appellate chambers. They seriously jeopardize the achievements made in terms of justice and are directing a manhunt against just men and women, forcing many into exile, just as happened during the war.
This is demonstrated by the measures that the Constitutional Court has granted to the detriment of the victims of the Ixil genocide committed during the de facto government of Efraín Ríos Montt, denying them the right to include evidence in the process and violating their right to include motives within their case.
It is noteworthy that the resolution of these measures was endorsed by magistrates Roberto Molina Barreto and Héctor Hugo Pérez Aguilera, who in 2013 issued a fraudulent resolution against the genocide sentence, and by magistrate Luis Rosales, at the time the lawyer of genocidal leader Efraín Ríos Montt.
This is also demonstrated by the exile of Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez of the High Risk Court “B”, who from his exile publicly denounced the persecution he faced for his decisions to send to trial, among others, ex-military officials and ex police (who were members of illegal military intelligence bodies) for their participation in torture, executions and forced disappearances in the Military Diary Case. In that case appear shady characters such as Jacobo Salán Sánchez and Toribio Acevedo (former chief of security at Progreso Cement company), the latter having benefited from an illegal judicial measure approved by Judge Claudette Dominguez and from the involvement of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (INACIF according to its initials in Spanish), which is directed by Ingrid Johana Romero Escribá—daughter of a military Colonel and cousin of the president of the constitutional court Dina Josefina Ochoa Escribá. The INACIF has contributed expert testimony in favor of the detained military officials so that they may benefit from lighter alternatives to prison sentences.
The same thing happened in the case of Molina Theissen, in which the Constitutional Court justices issued a legal measure in favor of the former Director of Intelligence, General Manuel Antonio Callejas y Callejas. The measure directs the First High Risk Court of Appeals to hear his appeal of the sentence that sent him to prison but that today, five years after it was handed down, is still not final because of a series of malicious legal actions.
Pro-impunity actions are repeated in the Ixil genocide case from the period under Lucas García, where the INACIF has also presented expert testimony in favor of Manuel Benedicto Lucas García and Manuel Antonio Callejas y Callejas, in which they try to convince the First Sentencing High Risk Tribunal “A” to let the accused walk free and not face trial. This case should have started on January 9, 2023, but was delayed due to the recusal of judge Andrea Julieta Lobos Luna for her family ties to general Rodolfo Lobos Zamora, who was commander of the Quiché Military Zone when the crimes under investigation were committed.
The policy of impunity is further ratified by the head of the National Office for the Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane, and Degrading treatment, Lesther Castellanos Rodas, who has initiated legal action against judges, against the Attorney General, Doctor Claudia Paz y Paz and against the prosecutor Elena Sut Ren, for the detention and imprisonment of ex military personnel – among others, those detained for the CREOMPAZ case. This case is currently completely stalled, and the judge Claudette Dominguez threw out and disqualified important witnesses, letting some of the accused walk free.
Lastly, we attest that the policy of impunity receives its state seal from the president of the republic Alejandro Giammattei, who, it is widely known, intends to pass a law or decree of amnesty and pardon for the Guatemalan military personnel who participated in serious human rights violations during the Internal Armed Conflict, thereby impeding the search for truth and justice that, for decades, thousands of families and dozens of social organizations have pursued.
In view of the above, we demand:
- the immediate ceasing of the state policy of impunity.
- abstention from declaring amnesty for indescribable crimes which are not eligible for amnesty in any other part of the world.
- the end of the persecution and criminalization led by the corrupt and criminal characters behind the Foundation Against Terrorism, the pseudo- Special Office against Impunity and the Attorney General of the Public Ministry herself, Ms. Consuelo Porras Argueta.
- to the international community: monitor and audit the pro-impunity actions of Mr. Alejandro Giammattei Falla, Ms. Consuelo Porras Argueta, the justices of the Constitutional Court and of the Supreme Court of Justice.
- to the judges presiding over our cases and to the justices who recognize legal measures that delay, twist, and harm our right to justice: respond objectively and according to the law, in favor of the victims; have the courage to oppose corruption and impunity.
Names of the organizations of the Coalición Genocidio Nunca Más (CGNM – No More Genocide Coalition):
Asociación Civil Verdad y Vida (Civil Association of Truth and Life)
Asociación La Cuerda (La Cuerda Association)
Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos – CALDH (Center for Legal Action for Human Rights)
Colectivo Estamos Aquí (We Are Here Collective)
Coordinación y Convergencia Nacional Maya Waqib’ Kej (National Maya Waqib’ Kej Coordination and Convergence)
Coordinadora Nacional de Viudas de Guatemala – CONAVIGUA (National Coalition of Widows of Guatemala)
Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos de Guatemala – FAMDEGUA (Guatemalan Association of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared)
Family Members of Military Diary Victims
The Human Rights Defenders Project -HRDP
JPIC-CONFREGUA Oficina de Derechos Humanos del Arzobispado de Guatemala – ODHAG (Guatemalan Archbishop’s Office of Human Rights)
Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos – UDEFEGUA (Protection Unit for Human Rights Defenders)
Guatemala. January 31, 2023.