Current Weather
The Spy FM

Genocide Conviction In Guatemala Is ‘Huge Breakthrough’

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
May 11, 2013

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was convicted of genocide by a court in his country Friday for the part he played in massacres and other crimes committed against Mayans while he ruled in 1982 and 1983.

As NPR’s Carrie Kahn reported, Montt (who will likely appeal the verdict) was sentenced to 50 years in prison for genocide and another 30 for crimes against humanity. The judge said the evidence showed that the army, under Montt’s control, had a systemic and clear plan to exterminate the Ixil people, who they considered enemies of the state.

Montt, now 86, was found guilty of ordering the death of more than 1,700 people.

The significance of the verdict, writes the BBC, extends beyond the case against the former dictator: “It is the first time a former head of state had been found guilty of genocide by a court in his or her own country. Other genocide convictions have been handed down by international courts.”

And, adds BBC Central America correspondent Will Grant, the decision is “a huge breakthrough for human rights in the region.”

The Los Angeles Times reminds its readers that:

“A 1999 report by the country’s truth and reconciliation commission listed widespread human rights abuses during the civil war, which lasted from 1960 to 1996 and claimed more than 200,000 lives. The panel found that 93% of the rights violations were committed by the government or its paramilitary allies. Guatemalan prosecutors accused Rios Montt of responsibility for the massacre of more than 1,700 Ixil Maya, as well as systematic rapes, tortures and the burning of villages.”

Earlier this week, the PBS NewsHour reported about “the key role that science and forensics played in the trial. That involved analyzing bodies unearthed from graves and DNA of skeletons buried en masse during the war and studying satellite data of the countryside during the bloody regime.” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

5AM to 6AM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

Listen Live Now!

6AM to 7AM Travel with Rick Steves

Travel with Rick Steves

"Travel with Rick Steves" is a fun, hour-long, and practical talk show with guest experts and calls and questions from travelers. This weekly program is a lively conversation between travelers and the experts as we learn to explore our world smartly, smoothly, and thoughtfully.

View the program guide!

7AM to 9AM Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

From civil wars in Bosnia and El Salvador, to hospital rooms, police stations, and America\'s backyards, National Public Radio's Peabody Award-winning correspondent Scott Simon brings a well-traveled perspective to his role as host of Weekend Edition Saturday.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center