Guatemala’s congress votes to deny genocide

Guatemala’s congress votes to deny genocide

By Associated Press

14 May 2014

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala’s Congress approved a non-binding resolution that denies there was any attempt to commit genocide during the bloody 36-year civil war, while calling for “national reconciliation” in the Central American country.

“It is legally impossible … that genocide could have occurred in our country’s territory during the armed conflict,” said the resolution, which passed late Tuesday with support from 87 of the 158 legislators.

The resolution was proposed by Luis Fernando Perez, a legislator for the party founded by former dictator Efrain Rios Montt. Rios Montt was convicted of genocide for crimes during his 1982-83 rule, but a court later annulled the 80-year sentence for the massacre of thousands of Mayans and ordered his trial re-started.

The vote apparently will have no effect on the trial, which is scheduled to begin again in January.

Groups representing Guatemala’s Indians, the principal victims among the estimated 250,000 people killed during the 1960-96 civil war between a U.S.-supported government and leftist movements, have said the annulment of the Rios Montt verdict was a denial of justice.

Opposition congressman Leonel Lira criticized the resolution, saying such efforts “create more divisions in Guatemalan society.”

“This shows that they aren’t really looking for reconciliation, but rather there’s an ideological point they’re trying to make,” Lira said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Featured Image: Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt listens to a judge in Guatemala City on April 19, 2013 (Johan Ordonex/AFP/Getty Images)

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