On May 10, 2013 Ríos Montt was found guilty of overseeing acts of genocide and war crimes against Guatemala’s Ixil Mayan population in 1982 and 1983. The landmark trial marked the first time a former head of state had been tried for genocide by his country’s own judicial system, and was considered a key step in addressing impunity for crimes of the past. The guilty verdict was annulled 10 days later by the Constitutional Court on questionable legal grounds.
Last week the Constitutional Court issued a ruling on Oct. 22 asking lower courts to reconsider Rios Montt’s right to protection under a defunct 1986 amnesty law.
Is the Guatemalan Constitutional Court’s decision impeding justice in Guatemala? What is the longer-term impact of this decision? Is it furthering impunity and social polarization in the country and a much needed reckoning with its past?
WOLA Senior Fellow and George Mason University Professor Jo-Marie Burt weighs in on the subject in this recent podcast from Mesa Pública.