In a press conference call on April 25, 2013, Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum and other activists leaders spoke to journalists about why the genocide trial against former president Efraín Ríos Montt is essential for justice and reconciliation in Guatemala. The historic trial has been met with resistance, including attempts to suspend the trial. This would annul evidence from dozens of survivors and witnesses regarding atrocities committed during the Guatemalan civil war.
During the call, Menchú Tum was joined by activists Pamela Yates, filmmaker at Skylight Pictures, Claudia Samayoa, coordinator at the Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit in Guatemala (UDEFEGUA), and Kate Doyle, analyst at the National Security Archive.
Menchú Tum stated, “The worst thing is that the people who originally committed the genocide say that it does not exist.” She explained that testifying survivors and human rights activists, as well as judges and Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz, have been threatened and harassed as the trial proceeds. She also noted that the genocide trial covers a mere two years of Guatemala’s long civil war.
Ahead of the press conference, seven Nobel Laureates issued a statement calling for Guatemala to continue with the trial.
Listen to the audio of the press conference:
Nobel Laureates Urge Guatemala to Restart Genocide Trial, Bloomberg, 25 April 2013.
Nobel Laureates: Justice for Survivors in Guatemala! Nobel Women’s Initiative, 24 April 2013.
Visit the website of the documentary film by Pamela Yates, Granito: How To Nail a Dictator, which chronicles the efforts to bring Ríos Montt to trial.
Nobel Women’s Initiative and our partners live tweeted the press conference. Read the story below: