Former dictator Ríos Montt’s genocide verdict annulled
The Guatemalan constitutional court has overturned the genocide conviction of former military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. In a historic verdict earlier this month, Ríos Montt was sentenced to 80 years for genocide and crimes against humanity in the killings of more than 1,700 Ixil Mayan people in the early 1980s.
Helen Mack Chang (RLA 1992) spent 14 years bringing the officers and generals responsible for her sister’s murder to justice. Her sister, Myrna Mack, a social anthropologist who had studied the problems of people displaced by the internal armed conflict in the country, had been brutally assassinated by a military commando on September 11, 1990. Helen Mack Chang recently attended and monitored parts of the Ríos Montt genocide trial.
In an interview with Amy Goodman (RLA 2008), Mack Chang said that the annulment was not unpredictable. According to her, it was very clear from the beginning that the defense did not want to discuss the charges. She states that, although the annulment was to be expected, it is a lost opportunity for Guatemala, and a disrespect for the victims.