European and Latin American NGO’s concerned over annulment of Rios Montt genocide sentence

June 13, 2013

Civil society networks from Latin America and Europe are deeply concerned over the Guatemalan Constitutional Court’s annulment of the sentence in the genocide case against former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. ALOP, APRODEV, CIDSE, CIFCA, COPDI and GRUPO SUR have issued a joint statement detailing the reasons for their misgivings.

Ten days after Ríos Montt’s conviction on May 20, the Constitutional Court struck down his 80-year prison sentence and annulled all proceedings that had taken place after the trial was temporarily ordered to halt on April 19. Ríos Montt’s defense team claimed that court proceedings had not sufficiently remedied a due process violation that occurred on the opening day of the trial. The Court’s decision to annul the sentence stemmed from one of many constitutional challenges made by the former dictator’s attorneys.

Although most of the trial and testimony remain intact, the case now faces procedural difficulties. It is not clear at present whether the proceedings after April 19 can be repeated, which court will be in charge of the new hearing, or if Efraín Ríos Montt will remain in prison.

You can download the entire joint statement in English or Spanish from the links in the right sidebar.