PBI-Guatemala accompanies BDH lawyers at hearing of former military officer indicted in crimes against humanity case

Published by Brent Patterson on

On June 2, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted: “Yesterday we accompanied the BDH lawyers to the hearing for review of measures of the former members of the Guatemalan Army, César Augusto Ruiz Morales, accused in the CREOMPAZ case.”

Eleven former military officers have been indicted on charges of forced disappearance and crimes against humanity committed at the Military Zone 21 army base, now known as CREOMPAZ, between 1981 and 1988.

The case involves the unearthing of 84 mass graves containing 565 bodies of which approximately 150 have been identified. FGER 1420AM notes: “It is considered the largest clandestine cemetery in Latin America.”

On the hearing held on June 1, PBI-Guatemala noted: “Judge Claudette Domínguez, of the Higher Risk Court A, declared the petition without place, asking to go from preventive prison to house arrest.”

“The defense of former military man Raúl Dehesa Oliva resigned from the hearing, so his request was not heard.”

PBI-Guatemala adds: “Two other soldiers accused in the same case had previously requested the review of measures, which was rejected by the judge.” On May 12, PBI-Guatemala shared a Facebook post from Caso Creompaz indicating that the judge had rejected the request for substitute measures for those two military officers as well.

BDH is a group of lawyers who represent those whose human rights have been violated. It has been accompanied by PBI-Guatemala since 2013.

PBI-Guatemala also accompanies the Chicoyogüito Neighborhood Association (AVECHAV) which is made up of the families displaced by the construction of the base.

The survivors and relatives of the families displaced by the base in July 1968 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.

CREOMPAZ refers to the United Nations Comando Regional de Entrenamiento de Operaciones de Mantenimiento de Paz (Regional Training Command for Peacekeeping Operations).

In Creompaz: Guatemala’s ‘Little School of the Americas’, Canadian journalist Dawn Paley writes: “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 the base.

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