PBI-Guatemala attends court hearing for two criminalized members of CCDA Verapaz
CCDA Verapaz member Jorge Coc reads this PBI-Guatemala bulletin that features an article about the criminalization of him and Marcelino Xol Cucul.
The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project has posted that on September 30 they “attended the hearing of Jorge Coc and Marcelino Xol Cucul of CCDA Verapaz.”
The PBI-Guatemala Facebook post adds, “The public defender of Jorge Coc requested acceptance as proof of socio-historical expertise on the conflict between the Choctum Basilá community and the Chilté cooperative. The judge rejected him arguing that the conflict over land has no relevance in the trial.”
PBI-Guatemala has explained, “The criminalization of Jorge Coc and Marcelino Xol Cucul, indigenous authorities from the community of Choctun Basilá (municipality of Cobán), is based on the accusation of homicide and attempted homicide.”
“[On July 13, 2017] one person was killed and others were injured, all of them were members of the Chilté cooperative located in the municipality of San Pedro Carchá.”
“Jorge has declared that on the day of the events he was at his home in Las Pacayas taking care of his sick father. Marcelino says that on July 13, 2017 he was teaching in a community in Chisec, several hours from the scene of the crime.”
“Despite their testimonies of innocence, the inconsistencies in the testimonies from the witnesses to the crime and the failure of the accusers to individualize the crimes both men were formally charged and imprisoned.”
“According to CCDA’s assessment of the situation, this criminalization has its origins in an inter-community dispute between Choctun Basilá and the Chilté cooperative. It is a conflict that has been ongoing for more than 10 years and it originated with the annexing of land to the Choctun Basilá community.”
“Over the course of the last 10 years, the community of Choctun Basilá, has denounced aggression they have suffered from members of the Chilté cooperative on more than 90 occasions.”
“The PDH [the Office of the Human Rights Prosecutor/Ombudsperson, a state entity] and OHCHR [Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights] reports mention this as one of the cases where an entire community has been criminalized and where there is no differentiation of the accusations brought against the accused.”
PBI-Guatemala began accompanying the Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA), a campesino organization that accompanies and advises mostly Indigenous communities on land rights issues, in July 2018.
Photo below: PBI-Guatemala meets with Marcelino Xol Cucul and Jorge Coc of CCDA Verapaz in June 2019.