Acknowledging Genocide, a Guatemalan Court Withholds Justice for Survivors

An Ixil woman holds a red carnation during a memorial ceremony for victims of Guatemala’s civil war, Guatemala City, Sept. 26, 2018 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).
An Ixil woman holds a red carnation during a memorial ceremony for victims of Guatemala’s civil war, Guatemala City, Sept. 26, 2018 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

On Sept. 26, in a tense, crowded courtroom in Guatemala City, a three-judge panel ruled unanimously that genocide and crimes against humanity occurred in the Maya-Ixil region of northern Guatemala in 1982 and 1983, at the height of the country’s civil war. But in a split 2-1 vote, the court determined that the defendant, retired Gen. Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, did not bear criminal responsibility for the crimes and acquitted him on all charges. Ixil witnesses who testified during the trial described the court’s ruling as “bittersweet” and vowed to continue their fight for justice. This was the second acquittal […]

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