Five women Nobel Peace Prize Laureates called on Guatemala today to respect the rights of survivors who suffered atrocities at the hands of the military dictatorship of former de facto head of state Efraín Ríos Montt.
Their statement follows on the heels of a recent turn of events in Guatemala, where on May 10, 2013, Ríos Montt was convicted for genocide and crimes against humanity. Ten days later the Constitutional Court overturned the conviction. The Court re-affirmed their decision on May 29, 2013 and has been unclear as to when, or if, the trial will resume.
This decision comes as a serious blow to survivors of the Guatemalan genocide, who testified during the trial to mass human rights violations including sexual violence, torture and killings suffered during the rule of Ríos Montt’s government. “Thirty years after the crimes, indigenous victims of the most terrible crimes recounted their experiences in a court of law,” said Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum in the statement. “Guatemala must not again victimize these communities.”
Rios Montt Convicted of genocide!, Nobel Women’s Initiative, 16 May 2013.
Menchu Tum releases open letter on impunity in Guatemala, Nobel Women’s Initiative, 24 May 2013.
Ríos Montt Genocide Verdict Annulled, But Activists Ensure US-Backed Crimes Will Never Be Forgotten, Democracy Now!, 23 May 2013.
Join the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA in asking the Constitutional Court to take action to defend the rule of law and ensure the trial continues.