Letter to the Guatemalan president
On June 17th, 35 EU-parliamentarians sent a letter to the Guatemalan president where they expressed their concern over the procedural limbo of the Ríos Montt trial in Guatemala. The initiative of the letter was taken by CIFCA and APRODEV, which Diakonia is a member of.
Worried about the current situation
In the letter, the parliamentarians show concern about how the trial has been focusing much attention on procedural errors instead of making sure that the case is thoroughly examined. They also worry about the recent suggestion from a government minister, which would guarantee historical amnesties to international crimes, which Ríos Montt then would be able to use.
The Ríos Montt trial: Guatemala's former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt was in May sentenced to 80 years in prison for the genocide of the Ixil people between 1982-1983. Soon after, the verdict was revoked and since then, the process regarding the continued trial has been silent.
Call for a full and just conclusion
The most important point the parliamentarians want to bring forward ensure that the trial of Efrain Rios Montt will be brought to a full and just conclusion. This would be a tremendous achievement and a milestone that can be a guideline for other countries where crimes against humanity have taken place.
The parliamenatrians urge the Guatemalan government to:
Ensure that the rights of victims are protected by finding a way to allow the trial to continue and come to a conclusion, free from unusual delay and with full respect for the rights of the accused;
Continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of trial participants, including judges, counsel, and witnesses;
Refrain from political endorsement of options that are clearly incompatible with Guatemala’s commitments under international law;
Take all measures to ensure that no state or private agent acts to threaten judicial independence; and
Continue to accommodate international interest in this ground-breaking genocide trial, including by welcoming a monitoring visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence.