Guatemalan Public Ministry Presents Formal Accusation of Military Members in Murder of Juan Gerardi Print
From The Guatemala Human Rights Commission
April 26, 2000

The Public Ministry (MP) formally accused Captain Byron Lima Oliva, retired Colonel Byron Lima Estrada, and ex-specialist for the military Obdulio Villanueva, of taking part in the assassination of Bishop Juan Gerardi. Prosecutor Leopoldo Zeissig made the formal accusations in the Administrative Center of Criminal Proceedings, where he also presented documents, photographs, videotapes, and testimonial and scientific evidence against the defendants. He also made it clear that the investigation into the case might lead to others who were involved in the murder. The MP's formal accusations came in response to presiding judge in the case Flor de Maria Garcia Villatoro's call that the MP must either formalize the accusation against the military members within three days or close its case against them.

On April 17, it was reported that witness Gilberto Gomez Limon confirmed his testimony before the Second Judge of Criminal Instance. Gomez Limon, who testified in a preliminary trial as a result of the death threats he has received, maintained that Obdulio Villanueva told him that he had left the prison in Antigua Guatemala the day Bishop Gerardi was murdered. Prosecutor Leopoldo Zeissig stated during the proceedings that Gomez Limon and his family had been threatened in order to keep him from testifying.