10. UN human rights chief welcomes ‘historic’ trial for Guatemalan genocide
UN human rights chief welcomes ‘historic’ trial for Guatemalan genocide
18 March 2013 – The top United Nations human rights official has applauded the beginning of the “historic” trial of Guatemala’s former head of State and former head of intelligence who are both accused of crimes committed in the Central American nation over 30 years ago, and urged local authorities to ensure the execution of a fair and independent legal proceeding.
“I welcome the beginning of this historic trial, and I hope that it will signal the arrival of long-awaited justice for thousands of victims of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed during the murderous 36-year conflict in Guatemala,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said today in a press release.
She also pointed out that it was “the first time, anywhere in the world,” that a former head of State was being tried for genocide by a national tribunal.
Former president Efraín Ríos Montt and former intelligence chief José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez stand accused of committing genocide and crimes against humanity for their roles in Guatemala’s conflict, which spanned from 1960 to 1996, and saw, according to news reports, an estimated 200,000 killed or disappeared.