March 1st – March 13th
Guatemalan special force soldier sentenced to 6,060 years in prison. Pedro Pimentel Rios, a member of the military elite forces, was involved in the 1982 Dos Erres Massacre, in which 201 people were killed. The former instructor of the military school of the Kaibiles had been living in Santa Ana, California until 2011 when he was extradited to Guatemala. Pedro Pimentel Rios is the fifth Guatemalan soldier to be sentenced to 6,060 years in prison. He was sentenced to serve 30 years for each of the 201 killings and an additional 30 years for crimes against humanity.
Declassified documents of the US State Department reveal the United States’ knowledge of the Dos Erres massacre. The documents show that the United States administration was informed about the massacre immediately after its occurrence and they sent staff to verify what had happened.
Exhumations of mass graves continue. The Association of Relatives of the Disappeared of Guatemala and the Human Rights Legal Center released their recent findings from the exhumation of mass graves in a military station en Alta Verapaz. Guatemalan anthropologists confirmed that they found the remains of 34 victims of the internal armed conflict. The graves are believed to contain the remains of 200-300 disappeared from the civil war.
Efraín Ríos Montt insists on requesting amnesty. Judge Miguel Angel Galvez rejected former general Efrain Rios Montt’s petition for amnesty from charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The judge ruled that the amnesty law is invalid because of a 1949 international treaty against genocide that Guatemala signed before amnesty was declared. The UN congratulated Guatemala on rejecting the petition for amnesty brought forward by Ríos Montt.
Petition of former military general rejected. The Guatemalan court rejected the petition of former military general Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes to stop pursuing the judicial process against him due to his weak health status. Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes faces genocide charges for his involvement in the massacres of 1982 and 1983 against the indigenous population of Maya Ixil. The defense attorney argued that Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes is in the last stage of cancer and does not have sufficient funds to stand trial. The judge ordered a health examination which will be presented before the court on March 20th.
Deportations to Guatemala on the rise. Organizations in favor of migrants are worried about the rise of deportations of Guatemalans in the first two months of 2012. Deportations have increased by 29% compared to last year’s first bimester. Pro-migration organizations believe that the number of deportations will keep on increasing if the Temporary Protected Status is not granted to Guatemalans.
Women Rights Organizations continue to push for policies against domestic violence. On the International Women’s Day (8th of March) the Guatemalan judiciary presented advances in femicide and domestic violence cases. Judicial organisms declared that the number of criminal complaints and sentences related to domestic violence has notably increased.
President Otto Perez Molina traveled to Honduras for a meeting with SICA, which is the heads of the states of Central America. The group met with US Vice President Joe Biden to discuss drug trafficking and security issues.