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Fri Feb 1, 2013, 09:50 PM

Top Guatemala prosecutor pulls no punches

Claudia Paz y Paz, Guatemala's first female Attorney General, has locked up drug barons and prosecuted war criminals.

Romina Ruiz-Goiriena Last Modified: 31 Jan 2013 14:36

Guatemala City, Guatemala - For as long as she could remember, Claudia Paz y Paz was certain she would become a lawyer. Her grandfather, also an attorney, had inculcated in her that the rule of law was the only way to guarantee people’s rights.

Today, she is the first female Attorney General of Guatemala.

Inside her office, Paz paces back and forth from her mahogany desk glaring at the computer screen. On a window open to UStream TV, history was unfolding before her very eyes. For the first time in Latin American history, a national court was minutes away from ordering former dictator Jose Efrain Rios-Montt to stand trial for genocide.

When Rios-Montt seized control of the country in a March 1982 coup, it gave way to the bloodiest period of Guatemala’s 1960 - 1996 civil war. Paz was 16 years old at the time.


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