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Guatemalan Dictator Convicted of Genocide

After his trial was temporarily suspended, former Guatemalan dictator Gen. Efrain Rios Montt has been convicted of genocide and sentenced to 80 years in prison. But don’t be surprised if this does not last and the current president, who served in the military under Montt, finds some way to void the result.

A Guatemalan court convicted former dictator Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity on Friday, sentencing him to 80 years in prison, the first such sentence ever handed down against a former Latin American leader.

It was the state’s first official acknowledgment that genocide occurred during the bloody, 36-year civil war, something the current president, retired Gen. Otto Perez Molina, has denied.

“He knew about everything that was going on and he did not stop it, despite having the power to stop it from being carried out,” said Presiding Judge Yassmin Barrios. “Rios Montt is guilty of genocide.”…

A three-judge tribunal issued the verdict after the nearly two-month trial in which dozens of victims testified about mass rapes and the killings of women and children and other atrocities.

The proceedings suffered ups and downs as the trial was suspended for 12 days amid appeals and at times appeared headed for annulment.

I’m not gonna cheer until I see him in prison. Molina was one of Montt’s henchmen so nothing would surprise me. Nor will anyone who supported Montt in this country ever see justice, and there are a lot of people who deserve it. Both Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson considered him a close friend and both defended him vociferously against accusations of human rights violations. And Ronald Reagan praised him, supported him and continued to send him military hardware and aid even after the CIA had confirmed that his government was engaging in mass human rights violations.

Comments

  1. slc1 says

    And Ronald Reagan praised him, supported him and continued to send him military hardware and aid even after the CIA had confirmed that his government was engaging in mass human rights violations.

    MH’s hero.

  2. grumpyoldfart says

    But don’t be surprised if this does not last and the current president, who served in the military under Montt, finds some way to void the result.

    The same way Ford looked after Nixon.

  3. jba55 says

    I would place hard cash down saying that Montt sees no real repercussions. There is no precedent for punishment and the current administration has nothing to gain by actually doing the right thing. Hm, sounds an awful lot like Obama/Bush now that I lay it out there…

    Wow, I haven’t been able to follow Dispatches for some weeks but in the very first post I check the very first comment I see is slc1 trolling. I honestly have no idea why he is still commenting here.

  4. slc1 says

    Re Michael Heath @ 35

    In no way, shape, form, or regard was I claiming that MH agreed with his hero’s actions relative to the dictator of Guatemala.

  5. dingojack says

    (getting back to the issue)
    My guess – a few years in home ‘detention’ in some luxurious mansion, followed by a quiet pardon due to the ‘prisoner’s’ old age and bad health. Anyone wanna take them odds?
    >:| Dingo

  6. anandine says

    I guess this means that on the issue of making elected officials subject to the law, Guatemala is more of a democracy than the US.

  7. left0ver1under says

    A Hermit (#4) –

    I preferred “Call It Democracy” for it’s biting language. You know a song stands the test of time (and that rightwing politics haven’t gotten any better) when a song is still relevant nearly 30 years later.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    And in Cambodia a president with ties to the Khmer Rouge is blocking any serious legal action against the mass murderers.
    BTW In Angola UNITA “freedom fighters” did a lot of atrocities, including planting a gazillion land mines to disrupt agriculture. Now former marxists and former rebels have joined forces to screw the people of the oil money.

  9. bmiller says

    birger:

    Sorta like Daniel Ortega turning into an authoritarian religious nut. When it comes to money and power, left and right quickly become meaningless. :(

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