Genocide Trial of former Guatemalan dictator and SOA graduate on hold! Print
For immediate release
April 19, 2013
Contact: Hendrik Voss, SOA Watch
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Genocide Trial of former Guatemalan dictator and SOA graduate on hold!

JUST as the criminal court was scheduled to reach a verdict on the historic trial against U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator and School of America Graduate Efraín Ríos Montt, a surprise intervention by Guatemala’s current president and fellow School of the Americas graduate General Otto Pérez Molina has put the proceedings on hold and could derail the case altogether. Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reported last night Guatemalan army associates had threatened the lives of case judges and prosecutors.

General Efraín Ríos Montt stands on trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. During his 17 months in office, “an estimated 70,000 unarmed civilians were killed or disappeared; hundreds of thousands were internally displaced,” Amnesty International reports.

SOA graduates formed the backbone of the presidential cabinets under the dictatorships of both Montt and his predecessor, Romeo Lucas García. They were also deeply involved in the Guatemalan Intelligence Agency (D-2), in the formation of the notorious civil defense patrols, and in planning and executing “Operation Sofia,” which wiped out some 600 Mayan villages, part of a broader campaign “of genocide against groups of Mayan people,” the 1999 UN-backed truth commission concluded. Montt is the first ex-president to be charged with genocide by a Latin American court—and it indicated that the tide was turning against impunity in the region, however, Thursday’s decision to suspend the case is seen as a major blow to indigenous victims and human rights activists since Montt’s rule represents one of the bloodiest chapters in Guatemala’s history.

Learn more about SOA graduates in Guatemala here:

U.S. support for Guatemalan dictators:

Suspension of Genocide Trial Video:

SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots organization that works for the closing the School of the Americas and a change in U.S. foreign policy -