Guatemala City—On Monday February 1, a Guatemalan high-risk court is set to begin the landmark Sepur Zarco trial, making history in Guatemala and around the world. The trial will mark the first time that a Guatemalan court considers a case of sexual violence as an international crime, and the first time any domestic court around the world has weighed charges of sexual slavery.
The case involves two defendants accused of committing sexual violence, sexual slavery, and domestic violence against 15 Mayan Q’eqchi’ women at the former Sepur Zarco military base during the armed conflict in the 1980s. The case also involves enforced disappearances.
The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) have closely monitored developments in the case. Jo-Marie Burt, a Senior Fellow at WOLA, and Leonor Arteaga, DPLF Senior Program Officer, are available for commentary and will be in Guatemala starting on Monday, February 1, 2015 to observe the proceedings and report on subsequent developments in the case.
For background information on the trial, please refer to the following articles:
- Latin America’s Lesson for the US: Prosecute the Torturers, by Jo-Marie Burt
- Trial for Sexual Slavery Opens, by Luz Mendez
- Sexual Violence as a War Crime in Guatemala: Maya Women Struggle for Justice, by Kelsey Alford-Jones