May 11, 2013

Rios Montt found guilty of genocide

Guatemalan Ex-Dictator Found Guilty of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

By Tim JohnsonA three-judge panel Friday convicted former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt of genocide, saying his military regime used “extreme terror” in an effort to wipe out a Mayan minority ethnic group in the early 1980s.

In a packed courtroom in Guatemala City, Judge Yassmin Barrios said investigators had proven that the regime led by Rios Montt, who is 86, used starvation, mass homicide, dislocation, rape and aerial bombardment as tactics to exterminate the Ixil minority, which it believed to harbor leftist guerrillas.

Barrios gave Rios Montt a 50-year jail term for genocide and an additional 30 years for crimes against humanity.

When Barrios read the sentence, cheers erupted in the courtroom, a sign of the high emotions surrounding the trial, which deeply divided Guatemala and drew attention in other Latin American nations with a history of military dictatorships.

The conviction marked the first time a former Guatemalan military strongman known for “scorched earth” tactics to eradicate leftist guerrillas had been found guilty of genocide and ordered to prison.

“The accused, Jose Efrain Rios Montt, had full knowledge of all that was occurring and did nothing to stop it,” Barrios said.
Efrain Rios Montt, Former Guatemalan Dictator, Convicted Of Genocide

By Sonia Perez DiazA Guatemalan court convicted former dictator Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity on Friday, sentencing him to 80 years in prison, the first such sentence ever handed down against a former Latin American leader.

It was the state's first official acknowledgment that genocide occurred during the bloody, 36-year civil war, something the current president, retired Gen. Otto Perez Molina, has denied.

"He knew about everything that was going on and he did not stop it, despite having the power to stop it from being carried out," said Presiding Judge Yassmin Barrios. "Rios Montt is guilty of genocide."

The 86-year-old former general laughed, talked to his lawyers and listened to the procedures through headphones. When the guilty verdict was announced, the crowded courtroom erupted in cheers. Some women who lost relatives in the massacres wept.

"Judge, Judge! Restore order!" Rios Montt shouted as cameramen and photographers swarmed him after the verdict was announced.

A three-judge tribunal issued the verdict after the nearly two-month trial in which dozens of victims testified about mass rapes and the killings of women and children and other atrocities.
Putting ex-dictator behind bars pleases many in Guatemala, but fears remain he could go free

By Associated PressFormer Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt spent his first full day as a convict Saturday in a 16-by-13 foot cell with a small bed, bathroom and window, after receiving a landmark 80-year sentence for genocide and crime against humanity.

It was a steep fall for the now-86-year-old former strongman who ruled Guatemala from March 1982 to August 1983, during the height of a brutal civil war that killed 200,000 people, mainly Indians.

A tribunal on Friday ruled that Rios Montt knew about the slaughter of at least 1,771 Ixil Maya in Guatemala’s western highlands and didn’t stop it, handing down the first genocide conviction ever given to a Latin American strongman in his own country.

The former general was transferred to prison later that evening.

“He is not comfortable, but as a good soldier he is used to this,” said Rios Montt’s lawyer, Francisco Palomo, who is expected to seek to have the ex-general transferred to a hospital or to have his sentence be served under house arrest.

Matamoros prison, where Rios Montt is now behind bars, is located on a military base in Guatemala City where the former general spent time as a young cadet. It was built to house high-profile inmates who could be unsafe in normal prisons.
Comment:  For more on Rios Montt, see Guatemalan Strongman Charged with Genocide and Reagan Aided Atrocities Against Indians.


Anonymous said...

Um, I don't think you get how image macros work. For this, you might say "committed mass murder/in the name of freedom", preferably with a scumbag hat shooped in.

But yeah, I think everyone knew this was coming. So much evidence said Rios Montt was a mass murderer, and that his motive was to annihilate ethnic groups, so yeah.

Rob said...

I conveniently came across this image on Facebook when I was preparing this post. I don't have time to make an image that's cute or "clever."

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:

Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Hails Genocide Conviction of Ex-Guatemalan Dictator Ríos Montt

Days after Guatemala’s former U.S.-backed dictator, Efraín Ríos Montt, was convicted of genocide, we’re joined by a woman largely responsible for making sure he was brought to justice. Rigoberta Menchú began the process over a decade ago with legal cases filed against Guatemalan generals for atrocities committed in the Mayan region. Her lawsuits helped culminate last week in Ríos Montt’s landmark guilty verdict and 80-year sentence for his role in the killings of more than 1,700 Ixil Mayan people. Menchú lost her father, mother and two brothers during the Guatemalan genocide, later winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her campaigning on behalf of Guatemala’s indigenous population. "The conviction of Ríos Montt may provide an opportunity to close a chapter of our lives, a chapter of profound pain, [allowing] us to begin a new relationship amongst Guatemalans," Menchú says. "Because during the genocide, we felt so alone, we felt powerless, and we felt that nobody had our back. ... The fact the genocide was committed is [now] recognized means that nobody will ever forget."

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but I also don't think memes are a good way to do genocide discussion.

That said, I do have a Milhouse saying "Don't tax the job creators!"

Rob said...

The image just shows Rios Montt with an appropriate caption. It doesn't make any clever or ironic point, so I wouldn't call it a meme.

The articles are the main things for people to discuss if they wish. The image is a finishing touch, not an important part of the posting.