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Former Leader of Guatemala Convicted of Genocide

  • A court in Guatemala found former Guatemalan military dictator, Gen. Efrain Rios Monytt, guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. Handing out an 80-year sentence to the 86-year-old former leader, the panel of judges declared that systematic massacre of over 1,700 Maya people was unquestionably a grievous act of human rights violation.

    Efrain Rios Montt took over the country in a coup and reigned during a bloody civil war. In an effort to rid the country of Marxist guerrillas and their supporters, the Rios Montt-led army and security forces committed atrocities over the ethnic Ixil Maya, between 1982 and 1983.

    According to a report by the Mexican truth and reconciliation commission, the civil war that lasted between 1961 and 1996 was a period of widespread human rights abuses and resulted in the loss of more than 200,000 lives. About 93% of these transgressions and rights violations were committed by the government. For many years human rights groups in the country have been looking out for some justice to be meted out.