Former Guatemalan head of state charged with genocide
Human Rights Watch reported that a former Guatemalan de facto head of state, Efraín RíosMontt, will be tried for genocide and crimes against humanity. This is considered a major step towards accountability in Guatemala. Ríos Montt has been under house arrest since January 2012 for ordering the killings of more than 1,700 Mayan people in Guatemala during the years he was de facto head of state (1982-1983). A United Nations-sponsored Commission on Historical Clarification estimated that as many as 200,000 people were killed during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict (1960-1996) and attributed 93 percent of the human rights abuses it documented to state security forces. It concluded that the military had carried out “acts of genocide.” In 1996, at the end of the armed conflict, a Law of National Reconciliation established an amnesty for “political crimes” committed by both sides during the armed conflict, but explicitly excluded genocide, torture, enforced disappearances, and crimes that are not subject to statutes of limitation under international law.