April 16, 2007
SIGN PETITION TO TRY RIOS MONTT AND OTHERS FOR GENOCIDE
- Take Action Below -
Please click on the following website to sign an international petition to press for the trials of General Efraín Ríos Montt and others for genocide, crimes against humanity, and crimes of war: http://www.fidh.org/article.php3?id_article=4109. Ríos Montt is looking to register as a candidate for the Guatemalan Congress on May 3. If he successfully registers, he may gain political immunity for the next four years.
BACKGROUND: As many of you know, on December 29, 1996, the Peace Accords were signed in Guatemala, putting to end an extremely violent 36-year internal conflict. In 1997, after a long investigation, the United Nations Commission for the Historical Clarification (CEH) revealed that 200,000 Guatemalans were killed, 45,000 were disappeared, 1 million people were victims of forced displacement, 660 massacres were documented and 400 communities were completely destroyed.
These massive violations were committed primarily against the Maya Indigenous People (83%). The military regimes in power were found to be responsible for 91% of these violations. The majority of the crimes were committed between 1978 and 1985, during which time the governments of Romeo Lucas García (1978-1982), Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-1983) and Humberto Mejía Victores (1983-1985) were in power.
During this period, the UN Commission concluded that those military regimes committed crimes of war, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide and recommended that the intellectual authors of these policies be brought to trial.
Since 1999, accusations have been put before Guatemalan authorities, Spanish authorities and before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
In July 2006, after many years of impunity for those responsible, and accusations and threats against survivors and those willing to speak out, the Spanish Judicial Authorities issued international arrests warrants and solicited extradition for seven people who were functionaries in the chain of high command to be tried for genocide, torture, forced disappearance and extra-judiciary executions.
General Ríos Montt, one of those principally alleged, currently enjoys strong political and military support in Guatemala, reasons for which he has never been concerned. In fact, he officially put forth his name to run as member of congress for the next general elections in September, 2007. Submission for candidates will open May 3rd and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal will validate the submission in the following months. From this date, candidates will gain parliamentary immunity for four years.
If the legal cases, in Guatemala or Spain, do not move forward, the risk exists that Ríos Montt will never be processed or tried in Guatemala or Spain and millions of victims will never receive the moral justice or compensation they have been demanding for so many years.
The next months then, will be vital in the trial of those responsible for the genocide committed in Guatemala. International mobilization on this issue was crucial in the opening of the cases in Spain and must continue.
TAKE ACTION HERE!
GHRC is asking you to take urgent action. Pundits call on Guatemalans to forget the past and move forward. But to truly move forward, to have true reconciliation, and to foster a true adherence to the rule of law, General Ríos Montt and others must be brought to justice for their crimes committed during the civil war.
Please click on this link (http://www.fidh.org/article.php3?id_article=4109) to sign the international petition to be sent to Guatemalan President Oscar Berger so that the case against Ríos Montt and others may move forward and to prevent Ríos Montt from gaining immunity.
Unless we take action today, the victims of Guatemala’s thirty-six year blood bath may loose another chance to obtain justice for the loss of their loved ones. Thank you for your time and solidarity with our Guatemalan sisters and brothers.
[This Urgent Action has been initiated by Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture and the Death Penalty (ACAT), Agronomists and Veterinarians without Borders (AVSF), Amnesty International (AI), Cellectif Guatemala, Catholic Committee against Hunger and For Development (CCFD), International Federation for Human Rights, and Caritas France. We appreciate their contributions!]