Guatemalan human rights lawyer Édgar Fernando Pérez Archila to speak at PBI-Canada webinar this Thursday

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Guatemalan lawyer Édgar Fernando Pérez Archila, the director of the Law Firm for Human Rights, will be speaking on a PBI-Canada webinar this Thursday.

To register for this bilingual webinar, click here.

Plaza Pública has reported on his work representing the Indigenous Ixil population in the court hearings that found former President Ríos Montt guilty of genocide on May 10, 2013 for crimes against the Ixil peoples in 1982 and 1983.

“During the hearings, he was accompanied by Peace Brigades International. He says he will never allow a person with a gun next to him. After the genocide case, he and his family had to leave the country, to protect against threats of violence against him, even though it was only for the first 10 days after the sentence.”

Pérez also took part in the last two years of the trial that ended in 1999 with the conviction of three army commanders for the March 1982 massacre of 177 people in Rio Negro ahead of the construction of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam.

Pérez founded the Human Rights Law Firm in 2010. He charges no fees when the trial ends and no percentage from a victim’s reparations, instead the firm survives through the international support of foundations and governments.

Plaza Pública notes: “War victims make up 95 percent of the firm’s clients. The rest are Mayan authorities or land defenders.”

That article from June 2017 further notes: “Currently, under Pérez’s direction, the firm is focused on the CREOMPAZ case, the Dos Erres massacre and genocide, and the Ixil genocide, which are all tied up in legal motions and appeals.”

In December 2020, La Cuerda reported: “In January 2016, 14 former military personnel were detained for alleged links to crimes of enforced disappearance and crimes against humanity committed during the internal armed conflict, after evidence was found at the facilities of the Regional Command for Peacekeeping Operations Training (CREOMPAZ).”

The remains of 565 people were found at that military base in exhumations that took place between 2012 and 2015. Hundreds of victims have been identified as Indigenous Maya Poqomchi, Q’eqchi’, Achi, Ixil and K’iche peoples. 94 of those identified were under the age of 18.

In June 2016, Judge Claudette Domínguez determined that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute eight of the fourteen accused.

La Cuerta explains that Judge Dominguez reduced the number of accused due to dismissal, lack of merit and provisional closings, accepted only 29 of 152 witnesses identified by the Public Ministry and left survivors of sexual violence out of the case.

The International Justice Monitor has reported: “While she ruled to send the CREOMPAZ case to trial in June 2016, her ruling has been contested by the plaintiffs, resulting in a series of appeals that remain unresolved, leaving the case in legal limbo.”

As of May 2020, the case has not moved to trial because of several pending appeals that have not been resolved to date.

To hear the latest from Édgar Pérez this Thursday, click here.

PBI-Guatemala began to accompany Édgar Pérez in August 2010.


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