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Last Friday, former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity – a monumental moment for both Guatemala and the world, as this was the first time in history that a national tribunal convicted a former head of state with charges of genocide. This could set an important precedent for other countries dealing with similar cases, by serving as an example to other countries “that have failed to hold accountable those individuals responsible for serious and massive human rights violations.” Importantly:

The problem with trying people for genocide and crimes against humanity is usually not a lack of evidence. The issue, throughout Central America, is how to bring war criminals to justice when they continue to hold significant political power.

Along with the ruling, the judged instructed prosecutors to launch a new investigation on “all others” connected to these crimes – an investigation which could also implicate Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina.

For more information on the ruling, check out the following links:

Former Leader of Guatemala Is Guilty of Genocide Against Mayan Group

Victory in Guatemala? Not Yet

Ríos Montt Guilty of Genocide: Are Guatemalan President Pérez Molina, U.S. Officials Next?

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