PBI-Guatemala accompanies Human Rights Law Firm at hearing of Toribio Acevedo Ramírez in the Military Diary Case

Published by Brent Patterson on

On May 19, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted: “PBI accompanies the Human Rights Law Firm (BDH) at the hearing of the first statement of Toribio Acevedo Ramírez in the #MilitaryDiaryCase.”

Toribio Acevedo Ramírez was arrested in Panama on the evening of May 10.

On May 11, Prensa Libre reported:

Guatemalan security forces received on Wednesday, May 11, handed over by Panama, a former military officer accused of war crimes allegedly committed during the internal armed conflict, which left more than 250,000 dead and missing between 1960 and 1996.

According to authorities, the Guatemalan was wanted for his alleged involvement in the murders, enforced disappearances and crimes against the duties of humanity that are contained in the case called “Diario Militar,” which was declassified by the U.S. National Security Archive in 1999.

The document, also called the “Death Dossier” and prepared by military intelligence, describes the cases of at least 183 people who were considered “enemies of the state” and who were disappeared or murdered in the 1980s.

Just last Friday, a high-risk Guatemalan court sent 9 former police and ex-military officers to trial for their connection to the case, and therefore in the murder of almost 200 people.

The nine retired military and police officers are accused of having participated in murders, enforced disappearances and rapes of at least 183 men and women, according to the “Diario Militar”.

Prensa Comunitaria adds:

According to information from the Center for Independent Media (CMI), Toribio Acevedo Ramírez served as Industrial Security Manager of Cementos Progreso, and was also in charge of legal litigation.

The CMI suggests that Acevedo Ramírez is one of the alleged perpetrators who devised the paramilitary structure that acted against the Kaqchikel communities in San Juan Sacatepéquez, in the dispossession of their territory for the construction of a cement plant. He also maintains that the soldier now detained was one of the direct connections with Ricardo Méndez Ruiz, president of the Foundation against Terrorism, and that Cementos Progreso, of the Novella family, would be one of the companies that finances his work.

The first statement hearing is expected to be in the Mayor Riesgo B court, presided over by Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez.

On May 11, the Associated Press reported:

“A Guatemala judge who last week ordered nine former police and military officers to stand trial for alleged crimes during that country’s civil war, said Wednesday [May 11] that death threats against him had increased since announcing his decision.”

Miguel Ángel Gálvez says: “They send me messages, they call me on the phone, there’s vehicles following; all of that is happening.”

PBI accompaniment

The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project accompanied the Human Rights Law Firm (BDH) and Édgar Pérez Archila at an early stage of these proceedings last year.

PBI-Guatemala accompanied eight days of hearings that concluded on June 10, 2021, as well as the four days of hearings that resulted in the indictment of former Defense Minister Marco Antonio González Taracena on June 25, 2021.

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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