Last week it was announced that former Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt would not be tried until January of 2015, pushing up the date from April of 2014, while families of the Mayan victims of the genocide had already been filing related charges in an international court.
On November 7 officials said that the trial of Rios Montt, accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, and of the head of military intelligence at the time, Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, would be held in January of 2015 due to judges being too busy with other cases for 2014.
Soon after the announcement, human rights advocates expressed frustration with the decision.
“As lawyers we consider this to be a serious delay of access to justice for the victims,” said Hector Reyes, an attorney from the Center for Legal Action in Human Rights, “and we believe that this case merits the effort needed to arrange a closer date because, to the victims of the armed conflict, justice has been denied.”
“The decision to delay the trial is a deception for the victims of the genocide and their families who have already waited for three decades and have fought so hard to ensure that Rios Montt would be brought to accounts before a tribunal,” said Sebastian Elgueta, an investigator for Amnesty International in Guatemala on November 7.
On November 6, a team of human rights advocates had presented a formal complaint to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR). One of the advocate groups, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), issued a press statement on Wednesday, November 6.
“The petitioning organizations assert that the Guatemalan State has failed to comply with its obligation to guarantee victims their right to justice, since for more than 30 years, none of those responsible for the violations suffered by thousands of victims have been tried.”