Guatemala News Update: February 17-21

Paz y Paz to testify before the CC next week

Claudia Paz y Paz will give testimony before the Constitutional Court next Wednesday regarding why she should stay in office through December of 2014, instead of only through May. The attorney general holds that her term ends four years after she was appointed, which would be this December. She is still deciding if she will run for reelection.

Appeals in genocide trial of Rios Montt advance

The Constitutional Court ordered the Second Appeals Court to decide if amnesty should be applied in the case against General Rios Montt for genocide and war crimes based on a law passed in 1986. The Court requested an explanation of the decision with “solid legal arguments.” In a separate appeal in the same case, the Constitutional Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on March 26 regarding Judge Patricia Flores’s ruling to restart the trial from where it was in November of 2011. The trial of Rios Montt, who is currently under house arrest, is scheduled to continue in January of 2015.

La Puya: Two years of peaceful resistance

March 2 will mark two years of the successful and peaceful protests of the people of “La Puya” against harmful mining interests. Activists state that the solution to resolve the conflict in La Puya would be for the government to consult the affected community and revoke the license it granted to the mining company. Festivities to commemorate the anniversary have already begun. Please sign our letter in solidarity with La Puya in  in English or in Spanish!

Organizations call for approval of law to search for disappeared

This week, Guatemalan human rights organizations called for Congress to approve a law to search for those who disappeared during the internal armed conflict. Created in 2007, the law would create a National Commission to Search for Victims of Forced Disappearance, in order to “pay the Guatemalan State’s immeasurable debt to the more than 45,000 people disappeared.” The organizations asked for the support of President Pérez Molina, as the law has not been approved by any of the last three administrations.

Inter American Press Association sends delegation to Guatemala 

The Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa (SIP) is sending a delegation to Guatemala to examine the state of freedom of the press in the country. The delegation will meet with officials including President Pérez Molina, Attorney General Paz y Paz and others. The president commented that he was “ready to accept the delegation and clarify that we are respectful of the freedom of the press, but also that his administration does not accept lies.” The visit comes just days after an assassination attempt on a local TV news anchor.

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