PBI-Guatemala accompanies lawyers at hearing on the 1982 Dos Erres village massacre

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On October 13, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted: “PBI accompanies the Bufete Jurídico de Derechos Humanos [Human Rights Law Firm – BDH] in the mid-stage audience at the #CasoDosErres.”

#CasoDosErres refers to the massacre of more than 200 people in the village of Dos Erres in 1982 during the 36-year-long Guatemalan conflict.

Back on June 22, PBI-Guatemala had posted: “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 explained: “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.”

The Associated Press adds: “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: “[Five suspects have been arrested] 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: “Canada is not fulfilling its obligations under international law to fight impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

We continue to follow this closely.


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