|Guatemalan bishop's murder case re-opened|
Guatemala City, Feb. 21 (CNA/CWNews.com) - After more than two years since a conviction in the case was handed down, the highest court in Guatemala, the Constitutional Court, has ordered a court of appeals to settle outstanding issues related to a 2002 ruling on the murder of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi of Guatemala City, which took place in April, 1998.
The case will be reopened by the Second Court of Appeals, which was tasked with reviewing the sentence of the three soldiers and the priest convicted for the crime.
Nery Rodenas, director of the Human Rights Office of the Archdiocese of Guatemala City, expressed his hope that the judges would be impartial, although he felt that "the request by the soldiers should be denied and the conviction reconfirmed."
According to Roberto Echeverria, the lawyer for one of the men convicted of the killing, "The circumstances have changed and the judges now have three options: confirm, annul, or give a new sentence."
Bishop Gerardi was bludgeoned to death in the driveway of the rectory of St. Sebastian's Parish, just days after releasing a report on human rights violations committed by the military.
Two years after the crime, three soldiers and one priest were tried and convicted of carrying out the assassination. However, in October 2002, the Fourth Court of Appeals reversed the sentence and ordered new oral arguments.
5525 Illinois Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20011