Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum says the trial underway in Guatemala against Efraín Ríos Montt, the former dictator charged with genocide, is key to peace and reconciliation.
On April 18, 2013 Judge Flores ordered the trial’s suspension based on a pending appeal. The suspension would have annulled evidence from dozens of Ixil Mayan survivors of horrific state violence. Many of the witnesses and their supporters are currently facing threats and office raids.
The following day, April 19, Judge Barrios ruled the suspension illegal and declared that the Constitutional Court will rule on the fate of the trial in the following days. Barrios’ decision prompted cheers and a standing ovation in the courtroom.
The Rigoberta Menchú Tum Foundation has stated the following with regards to the trial’s disputes:
“[W]e express our hope that the men and women responsible for justice will make the most appropriate decisions … in a context as difficult as the post-conflict period in Guatemala, characterized by racism, the denial of terrible things done to the Mayan people, and attempts to erase and leave to impunity acts which are dramatic and painful for so many thousands of men and women.”
Menchú Tum, who has been attending the trial in Guatemala City, has also stated, “We will ask the Inter-American Court for Human Rights for precautionary measures to guarantee the life and physical safety of each of the witnesses.”
Nobel Laureates: Justice for Survivors in Guatemala!, Nobel Women’s Initiative, 24 April 2013.
Efrain Rios Montt Trial Suspended: Guatemalan Judge Orders Return To Pre-Trial Hearings, Huffington Post, 19 April 2013.
The long arc of justice in Guatemala, Al Jazeera, 22 April 2013.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum commends ruling on trial of Ríos Montt, Nobel Women’s Initiative, 31 January 2013.