PBI-Guatemala posts update on hearing for two officers indicted for crimes at Creompaz

Published by Brent Patterson on

The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project accompanies the Chicoyogüito Neighborhood Association (AVECHAV) which represents the 250 families displaced by an army base constructed on their lands on July 28, 1968.

That army base, then known as Military Zone 21, was the site of extreme violence against men, women and children in the 1980s.

In December 2019, the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) reported, “11 former military were indicted on charges of forced disappearance and crimes against humanity committed between 1981 and 1988, based on evidence uncovered at the Creompaz military center in Cobán, Alta Verapaz.” Two of those officers were José Antonio Vásquez García and César Augusto Cabrera Mejía.

On May 11 of this year, Nomada reported, “Today the military José Antonio Vásquez and César Augusto Cabrera were transferred to the Tower of Courts to ask Judge Claudette Domínguez to modify their preventive detention for house arrest.”

That article adds, “Both are accused in the case known as Creompaz, initiated by the disappearance of 564 people between 1981 and 1982.”

On May 12, PBI-Guatemala shared a Facebook post from Caso Creompaz indicating that the judge rejected the request for substitute measures.

Reporting on this hearing, the alternative radio FGER 1420AM notes “it is considered the largest clandestine cemetery in Latin America.”

In Creompaz: Guatemala’s ‘Little School of the Americas’, Canadian journalist Dawn Paley writes, “Evidence uncovered by forensic anthropologists shows that people disappeared from various regions were later brought to the base at Coban by soldiers for interrogation and torture, followed by extrajudicial execution and secret burial.”

Creompaz is now a United Nations training base for peacekeepers.

Paley has commented, “Regardless of the mass graves at the base, military and police training continues there, supported by countries like the US and Canada.” The support from Canada has included a CAD$250,000 grant in 2009 and the purchase of specialized equipment in 2014 for a training program at Creompaz.

The survivors and relatives of the displaced families continue to ask that their lands be returned to them and that their dispossession by the military ends. Last year, PBI-Guatemala accompanied the community at a ceremony outside Creompaz to commemorate the anniversary of their eviction.

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