PBI-Guatemala accompanies lawyers at hearing for soldier who will stand trial in October for the Dos Erres massacre

Published by Brent Patterson on

On June 22, PBI-Guatemala posted: “PBI accompanies the Human Rights Law Firm (BDH) in the #CasoDosErres. Today Judge Claudette Domínguez tied former Kaibil José Mardoqueo Ortiz Morales to the process, for his participation in the massacre. The next hearing will be in October; the accused will remain in remand.”

The BBC has reported: “More than 200 people were killed in the village of Dos Erres in 1982, one of the most violent episodes in Guatemala’s brutal 36-year conflict.”

That article explains: “The Kaibiles [were] a US-trained counter-insurgency force fighting left-wing guerrillas. …The special unit of the Guatemalan army stormed the village in the north of the country on 6 December 1982.”

“The Kaibiles suspected the villagers of sympathizing with left-wing guerrillas who had two months earlier carried out an ambush on a nearby army patrol, leaving 21 soldiers dead. Even though the soldiers’ search of the village did not uncover any of the weapons the guerrillas had seized during the ambush, the Kaibiles proceeded to kill the village’s inhabitants.”

That article further notes: “Over several days, the soldiers systematically shot or bludgeoned to death hundreds of men, women and children. They disposed of most of the bodies by throwing them down a well.”

ProPublica has reported: “Witnesses identified Ortiz as one of the soldiers who blindfolded the victims, interrogated them, hit them with a sledgehammer and dumped them into a well in the center of the village, according to Guatemalan and U.S. court documents.”

Impunity for others

The Associated Press has reported: “The slaughter [at Dos Erres] went unpunished for years — even after Guatemalan authorities issued 17 arrest warrants. In 2009, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights demanded the country prosecute the perpetrators.”

ProPublica notes: “Ortiz becomes the fifth suspect arrested in the United States… But six others have eluded capture, some of them aided by Guatemalan security forces whose power has impeded the quest for justice, according to Guatemalan and U.S. investigators.”

On June 16, Lawyers Without Borders Canada (ASFC) and the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (PCJI) held a news conference that called on Canada to prosecute Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes for his alleged role in the Dos Erres massacre.

The two organizations say: “Mr. Sosa Orantes, a former second lieutenant in the Guatemalan army, has been living peacefully in Canada for several months. …Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act gives the Canadian government the power to initiate criminal proceedings against Mr. Sosa Orantes. …By continuing to rely solely on citizenship and immigration procedures, Canada is not fulfilling its obligations under international law to fight impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

 

#CasoDosErres

Categories: News Updates

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