Target: Guatemala’s Constitutional Court
Goal: To condemn Guatemala’s Constitutional Court for annulling the conviction of former dictator and genocide leader.
On May 10, former Guatemalan Dictator Efran Rios Montt was convicted of overseeing the murder of over 1,700 members of the Mayan Ixil population and sentenced to 80 years in prison. Then, just a few days later, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court decided to annul the case and void all proceedings after April 19. The case is supposed to restart, most likely under a new judge, but there is a large possibility that a different ruling will be reached, especially as the current Guatemalan government is refusing to acknowledge the genocide.
Rios Montt was in power from 1982 to 1983, during the bloodiest years of the Guatemalan civil war that lasted from 1960 to 1996. 70,000 deaths occurred during the year that Rios Montt was in charge, including multiple massacres that specifically targeted the Mayan Ixil communities.
During Montt’s trial numerous brave Ixil victims testified to having been raped and tortured at the hands of Montt’s army. The entire trial was a huge step forward for human rights in Guatemala, as there has never been any trials for any atrocities during the war and very little acknowledgment of the genocide victims. Therefore, Montt’s conviction was a very important victory for all of Guatemala.
Unfortunately, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court decided to annul the entire case based on small legalities that happened in the beginning of the case. This is an extreme blow for human rights activists, the Ixil community, and Guatemala as a whole. The court literally broke their own rules after having said that it was not possible to revisit previous stages in a trial.
The victims of this horrifying genocide deserve to be honored and the entire Ixil community deserves to be heard. Let the Guatemala Constitutional Court know they made the wrong decision now, before the case is revisited.
Dear Guatemala Constitutional Court,
The decision you recently made to annul the conviction of Rios Montt is absolutely horrifying. It goes against previous standards you set yourself by saying that it is not possible to revisit previous stages in a trial. If the small legalities that caused you to annul this case were such a big deal, the case should have been stopped immediately after they happened. It is disrespectful to everyone involved in the case to annul it after a verdict has been reached.
The victims of this horrifying genocide deserve justice. Rios Montt deserves to serve his full 80 years and should not get out of his punishment based only on a sketchy legality.
It’s been long enough – the Ixil community deserves to be heard. Justice must be seen.
[Your Name Here]