AMERICA/GUATEMALA - After 30 years the trial of two members of the military accused of crimes against humanity begins

Tuesday, 2 February 2016 politics   violence   human rights   democracy  

Guatemala City (Agenzia Fides) - More than 30 years have passed before two members of the army, suspected of being involved in a case of sexual and domestic slavery of women of ethnic Maya-keqchí in northern Guatemala, were called to the bench defendants to account for their crimes. A lieutenant colonel, now retired, and a military commissioner are charged with crimes against humanity: sexual violence, domestic slavery and murder.
The events occurred between 1982 and 1983, and those responsible were identified thanks to the testimonies of the victims. The crimes were committed in the community of Sepur Zarco, a village in the municipality of El Estor (Izabal), where the military had to fight the Marxist guerrillas. The report "Recovery of Historic Memory" (REMHI) of Bishop Juan Gerardi, contains shocking testimonies in this regard: the women were forced to dance and undress in front of the troops in the same place where a few hours before their parents, brothers, boyfriends or husbands had been murdered.
"The violence was not indiscriminate, but depended on an assessment of risk/benefit in relation to the central objective: to obtain the cooperation of the civilian population", said the report coordinated by Bishop Gerardi, who was murdered in the garage of his parish 48 hours after having publicly presented the report.
The case is now in the hands of the judges, but the process can take several months. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 02/02/2016)