During his commemoration of the 17 years since the Peace Accords were signed in Guatemala in 1996, President Pérez Molina commented — in reference to the ongoing Ríos Montt genocide trial — that peace would never have been achieved “without amnesty.” The president also stated that the final verdict in the case should be respected by all people, “national as well as foreign.”
The First Chamber of Appeals upheld the ruling of Judge Carol Patricia Flores to roll back charges of genocide and war crimes against Ríos Montt. The Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH) responded by stating that they will submit an appeal to the Constitutional Court so that the trial may proceed as scheduled. In late 2011, Judge Flores was recused from the case and a different judge went on to review the evidence against Ríos Montt and then indict him in January 2013. If the appeal is denied, the case would be re-set to November 2011.
This week, the Prensa Comunitaria compiled articles and photos from just some of the many community struggles for land rights which occurred across Guatemala during 2013. The article highlights the ongoing struggles at La Puya, Santa Cruz Barillas, and San Juan Sacatepéquez.
José Rubén Zamora, Director of the newspaper El Periódico, has been barred from leaving Guatemala as he faces a series of potential criminal charges made by President Pérez Molina. Zamora has published several articles criticizing the government and accusing the administration of corruption. The politically-motivated charges have been criticized by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, among others.
This in-depth piece from the New Yorker looks at the botched drug enforcement operation in Honduras and criticizes the ineffectiveness of America’s war on drugs. The same failed security policies have been implemented in Guatemala. GHRC, with the Mesoamerican Working Group, also recently published a report detailing specific concerns and providing recommendations.