Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Justice rolls along, still...

One of the big fears of many in the human rights/indigenous rights communities regarding the election of Otto Pérez Molina was that the legal cases against those responsible for massacres and crimes against humanity during the armed conflict -- the few that were in process -- would grind to a halt and that no new cases would be brought forward. However, the day after the new government took office, Efraín Rios Montt was served with papers, and his case is proceeding. In the last few weeks, sentences have been handed down.  Just before I left to come back to Guatemala, more people were held accountable for the 1982 massacre at Dos Erres, and there was just a news flash that 5 people who were responsible for the massacre in a town called Plan de Sánchez, in Rabinal, Baja Verapaz, were found guilty and given sentences of 7,710 years (there were 256 people killed, and therefore, each defendant was sentenced to approximately 30 years for each victim; I just ran the math and it works out to 30.11 years per victim, so I'm not quite sure how the tribunal arrived at that figure).  As I wrote in an earlier blog, these heavy sentences do not bring back the dead. They do not return husbands to wives or mother and fathers to orphaned children. And many of the ones who handed down the orders and who designed the strategies are still at large. But it is still ... I'm not sure what the right word is. It's not satisfying, it's not gratifying, but it feels right.  There isn't a complete news story yet, but here's a link to the short update. 7,710 year sentences handed down (in Spanish)

No comments:

Post a Comment