Guatemala detains 13 retired military officers for war crimes
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — Security forces in Guatemala arrested 13 retired military officers on Wednesday, all charged with committing forced disappearance and other human rights crimes during the country’s civil war, the Prosecutor’s Office announced.
Spokeswoman Julia Barrera said the arrests took place in the departments (provinces) of Guatemala and in Alta Verapaz, in the country’s north.
Among those detained were former army chief of staff Benedicto Lucas García, who served during his brother Romeo Lucas García’s presidency (1978-82). Lucas Garcia’s time in office is among the bloodiest of the 36-year conflict.
“According to the investigation … these people were involved in the forced disappearance of men, women and children during the armed conflict, Barrera said.
The detentions came shortly before the Jan. 11 start of a special tribunal to try ex dictator Efraín Ríos Montt for genocide — the latest of several trials against him. Ríos Montt will be represented in court by his lawyers as he suffers from dementia and other medical problems.
If convicted, the former dictator would likely be confined to a hospital or put under house arrest because of his deteriorated health.
Guatemala’s civil war left more than 200,000 people killed or disappeared, according to a United Nations truth commission. The U.N. found that state security forces were responsible for 93 percent of war crimes. Most of the massacres registered during the war were committed in the country’s western highlands, an area with a high indigenous population.
You may be interested
Photos: Pride 2019 in San José, Costa RicaThe Tico Times - June 24, 2019
Tens of thousands of people participated in Costa Rica's pride parade, Marcha de la Diversidad, on Sunday afternoon throughout San…
Letters from the trail: Hiking the Camino de Costa Rica (Part 5)Garry Wallace - June 24, 2019
Earlier this year, we told you about Camino de Costa Rica, a 280-km hike from Costa Rica's Atlantic to its…
Tens of thousands celebrate Pride 2019 in Costa RicaAlejandro Zúñiga - June 24, 2019
San José — Tens of thousands of people took to the streets Sunday afternoon to celebrate Costa Rica’s 10th annual…