PBI-Guatemala accompanies Human Rights Law Firm at #CasoDiarioMilitar hearing at the Military Medical Centre

Published by Brent Patterson on

On June 22, PBI-Guatemala posted: “At the Military Medical Center, PBI accompanies the Human Rights Law Firm (BDH) in the first hearing of another accused in the #CasoDiarioMilitar [Military Journal Case].”

Verdad Justicia has tweeted: “Plaintiffs, lawyers and defense, await admission to the Military Hospital, where Marco Antonio G. Taracena, Víctor A. Vásquez Echeverría and Gustavo A. Oliva Blanco, indicated in #CasoDiarioMilitar.”

And journalist Edwin Pitán has tweeted: “In the Military Medical Center, the former Minister of National Defense, Marco Antonio Taracena, has begun to hear the accusation of the Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office for the forced disappearance of 126 people in the 1980s.”

First six defendants

On June 1, PBI-Guatemala posted: “Today, PBI accompanied the lawyers of the Human Rights Law Firm (BDH) to the first-ever hearing of 11 people accused of enforced disappearances, torture and murder in the #DiarioMilitar [Military Journal] case. The BDH represents relatives of the people mentioned in the document.”

The eleven former military and police officers were arrested on May 27 and a twelfth was arrested when he showed up in court.

On June 9, the first seven days of hearings that focused on six of those defendants concluded with their indictment to stand trial.

Sandra Cuffe reports: “All six defendants were indicted for crimes against humanity, and five of them were indicted for forced disappearance. They all also stand accused of murder, attempted murder or both, for the killings. The charges relate to 20 individual victims, based on witness testimonies and documentation gathered over the span of more than two decades.”

Earlier this month, Cuffe also noted: “Some of the remaining six are in custody in medical facilities while others were arrested in other parts of the country and were not transferred to the capital in time for the initial hearing.”

This would likely explain why today’s hearing was at the Military Medical Centre.

Caso Diario Militar

Prensa Libre has explained: “These are former military personnel accused of having participated in the disappearance, torture and death of at least 183 people during the years 1983 to 1985, including trade union and student leaders.”

Ruda further notes that the Military Journal itself is “a record of the names, photographs, and addresses of men and women who were arrested, detained, disappeared and murdered. The list includes students, university professors, trade unionists, and members of social organizations that the Army identified as allies of the guerrillas.”

Human Rights Law Firm

PBI-Guatemala began to accompany BDH lawyer Édgar Pérez Archila in August 2010 due to several security incidents he had faced in relation to the high-profile judicial processes he was working on. At the end of 2013, PBI-Guatemala extended the accompaniment to the other lawyers of the BDH who work in high-profile trials to fight against impunity and in defending criminalized human rights defenders.

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