• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Guatemalan ex-dictator to face genocide retrial

August 25, 2015

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — A Guatemalan court ruled Tuesday that ex-dictator Efraín Ríos Montt must face retrial for genocide during the country’s civil war, but ordered it take place behind closed doors because he has dementia.

The 89-year-old former general, who ruled the Central American country from 1982 to 1983, is accused of ordering the army to massacre more than 1,700 Maya Ixil indigenous people.

He was sentenced to 80 years in prison at an initial trial in 2013, but the Constitutional Court threw out his conviction on procedural grounds and ordered a retrial.

After defense lawyers argued Ríos Montt was no longer mentally fit to stand trial, the court sent him to a psychiatric facility for testing.

Recommended: How Guatemala’s former dictator Ríos Montt dodged a stay in a notorious psychiatric hospital

“The psychiatric experts all agreed the accused suffers mental illness,” said Judge Jaime González.

He concluded that “the incapacity of the accused to appear in public court has been demonstrated,” and ordered Ríos Montt to face trial behind closed doors, with no journalists present.

Doctors told the court last week that Ríos Montt alternates between moments of lucidity and dementia.

Ríos Montt and his ex-military intelligence chief, José Rodríguez, are charged with orchestrating a scorched-earth campaign in Maya Ixil areas as the government sought to stamp out rural support for leftist guerrilla groups at the height of Guatemala‘s 1960 to 1996 civil war.

Rodríguez will now be tried separately in open court, the judge ruled.

You may be interested

Sloths in Costa Rica: 11 Little Known Facts
Costa Rica wildlife
15415 views
Costa Rica wildlife
15415 views

Sloths in Costa Rica: 11 Little Known Facts

The Tico Times - March 7, 2021

Since they were first described by naturalists in the 1700s, sloths have been misunderstood. Early scientists described the slow-moving beasts…

Surge in young migrant border arrivals poses challenge for United States
Central America
3743 views
Central America
3743 views

Surge in young migrant border arrivals poses challenge for United States

Laura BONILLA / AFP - March 6, 2021

Thousands of minors without papers are arriving at the US border with Mexico, presenting President Joe Biden with a potentially…

Six arrested in Costa Rica with 1.1 metric tons of cocaine
Costa Rica
1437 views
Costa Rica
1437 views

Six arrested in Costa Rica with 1.1 metric tons of cocaine

AFP and The Tico Times - March 6, 2021

Costa Rican authorities seized 1.1 metric tons of cocaine and detained six men — four Colombians and two Costa Ricans…