On October 21, the government extended the “State of Prevention” imposed upon San Juan Sacatepéquez by another fifteen days. The State of Prevention, which has been in place since September 21, suspends constitutional rights in the wake of a violent clash in the community of Los Pajoques. The conflict resulted from a dispute over the construction of a cement factory and a highway.
On October 24, a group of women from San Juan marched through Guatemala City to demand an end to the State of Prevention. The women presented a complaint regarding alleged abuses with the Human Rights Ombudsman and ended the march in front of the presidential offices to call on the government to end its use of martial law.
The ex-Director of the Penitentiary System, Édgar Camargo; the wife of Byron Lima Oliva, Alejandra Reyes Ochoa; and an ex-agent in the National Civil Police, Carlos Cermeño, have been linked to criminal activity headed by Byron Lima Oliva. Charges against them include conspiracy, bribery, and money laundering. Continue reading →
GHRC is excited to announce that Miriam Pixtún Monroy will be visiting the US this November, as part of our Fall 2014 Speaker’s Tour, to share her experiences and those of other Mayan and Mestizo communities in Guatemala. Miriam will speak with audiences in Chicago, Illinois, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Reno, Silver City and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Miriam is a resident of Nacahuil, a Maya Kaqchikel community located about one hour from Guatemala City. In September of 2013, Nacahuil suffered a horrific attack. Unknown gunman sprayed bullets across the town’s main street, then viciously hunted people down; 11 people were killed and 15 more were injured, including two young girls. Nacahuil is one of many Guatemalan communities active in resisting the encroachment of mines, dams, and other mega-development projects onto its territory. Some residents believe that the attack was an attempt to break the community’s resistance to these projects; various witnesses also allege that the police were involved.
Miriam has extensive experience in community outreach and has been involved in movements for indigenous rights and autonomy. She, along with other members of Nacahuil, has also been very active in the anti-mining blockade known as ‘La Puya.’
Miriam will speak about the roots and goals of community resistance to mega development projects and describe the Guatemalan government’s overwhelming lack of respect for indigenous rights. GHRC’s Kathryn Johnson will accompany Miriam, providing interpretation and background information.
Times and locations will be on our website as they become available. We hope you can join us, or pass this information along to your networks in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Nevada.
Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC), International Platform against Impunity, Latin American Studies at George Mason University, Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) are please to invite you to a public forum on
Genocide in Guatemala: The Future of the Trial against Ríos Montt and Rodríguez Sánchez
Claudia Paz y Paz
Georgetown Law and former Attorney General of Guatemala
Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH)
Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH)
Human Rights Legal Office (Bufete Jurídico de Derechos Humanos)
International Center for Human Rights Research (CIIDH)
Unit for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala (UDEFEGUA)
Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)
and moderated by
George Mason University and WOLA Senior Fellow
Friday, October 31, 2014 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
2nd floor, Room B and C
1779 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
To RSVP, please click here. For more information please contact Ashley Davis at +1 (202) 797-2171 or email@example.com. The event will be held in Spanish.
On May 10, 2013, the ex-dictator of Guatemala José Efraín Ríos Montt was sentenced to 80 years in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in the extrajudicial execution of 1,771 indigeous Ixil Mayans between 1982 and 1983. Just ten days later, the Constitutional Court, under pressure from business and military sectors, overturned part of the proceedings, thereby nullifying the verdict. Since then the genocide case has been in a holding pattern. The tribunal now in charge of the case announced last year that it would reopen the case in January 2015. The world will be watching as Guatemala struggles to pursue accountability for the crimes of the past.
Speaking at this event are members of Guatemalan civil society and former Attorney General of Guatemala Claudia Paz y Paz, who created space in the Public Prosecutor’s Office for victims of Guatemala’s armed conflict to access truth and justice after more than three decades. The speakers will discuss the legal status of the genocide proceedings, the political environment and how it influences the legal situation, the effects of the stalled proceedings on the victims, and the status of the petition filed by the victims before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
At least 80 actions have been filedwith the Constitutional Court related to the process of selecting the magistrates for Guatemala’s Supreme Court and appeals courts.
The United Nations, the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office and several national and international organizations have requested that the Constitutional Court (CC) order a repeat of the process from the very beginning, alleging that there were various violations of the law which governs the process. The CC also ordered that until it is able to rule on the actions, the appointment of the new magistrates is suspended, and the existing magistrates will remain in their positions.
In addition, one judge who was appointed to a court of appeals, Claudia Escobar, resignedin protest claiming that she had been pressured by a member of Congress, Gudy Rivera, to rule in favor of Vice President Roxana Baldetti and the ruling Patriot Party in exchange for the appointment to the court. In response, the CICIG requested the Rivera’s immunity from prosecution be removed.
In a separate process, two lawyers have been charged with abuse of power with the Third Appeals Court Judge, Erick Gustavo Santiago de Leon. The Public Prosecutors Office alleges that the attorneys offered Santiago de Leon Q16 million to reduce a fine for a company from Q93 million to Q3 million. Meanwhile, the magistrate was reelected to the appeals court. Continue reading →
Residents of San Juan Sacatepéquez are requesting that the government lift the “state of prevention.” There is extreme tension between soldiers and civilians; soldiers are intimidating children, and some offer them candy in exchange for the names of their parents or the whereabouts of people the Public Ministry is searching for.
Human rights ombudsman Jorge de León Duque has demanded that the Constitutional Court take action in order to resolve the controversy surrounding the recent selection of thirteen judges. Claudia Escobar, a judge from the Fifth Circuit of Appeals, has also renounced the elections. Some minority sections of Congress are asking that the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala investigate, though the organization has yet to receive a formal request.
Archbishop Óscar Julio Vian Morales claims Guatemala has no respect for human life, speaking in light of recent violent incidents, such as the kidnapping and murder of a ten year-old girl named Dulce Velásquez. To combat rising violence, Vian proposes a better education system and the cultivation of values in children.
In 2008, Guatemala halted all adoption proceedings. Before this, about 4,000 children a year were adopted by American parents. Some experts are saying that this halt is contributing to the recent surge of migrant children to the United States. Advocates point out that if adoptions had not been halted, many of these children risking their lives en route to the United States could have been legally adopted in the first place. In the United States, these children face detention centers and deportation, while in Guatemala, they face poverty and exploitation by gangs.
A trial began this week against former police chief Pedro García Arredondo, who is being charged with ordering the massacre of 37 people who were peacefully protesting inside the Spanish Embassy in 1980. The massacre, which involved soldiers and police setting fire to the embassy, occurred in the context of Guatemala’s 36-year-long civil war. Thirty-seven people, most of them indigenous Mayans, were killed.
Guatemalan Foreign Affairs Minister Carlos Raul Morales spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on the importance of promoting greater prosperity in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, in light of the recent child migration crisis. Morales spoke about the importance of working with the United States to resolve the issue, but warned against criminalizing the children, citing the culpability of human trafficking networks.
The European Union has appropriated $15.4 million in aid to Guatemala. The money will go towards improving the quality of justice services, such as the Institute of National Forensics and the Penitentiary System, among others. Continue reading →
GHRC stands in solidarity with families and community members gathering today in El Estor, Guatemala to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the assassination of Adolfo Ich Chamán. On September 27 of 2009, Adolfo was murdered by private security forces working for … Continue reading →