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Fri May 24, 2013, 01:55 AM

Efrain Rios Montt Will Still Face Justice -- and So Should Henry Kissinger

By Van Gosse

"Despite the May 20 ruling by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court, which overturned the original verdict on procedural grounds, the May 10 conviction of that country’s former head of state, General Efrain Rios Montt, for the genocide of Guatemala’s Mayan people, could be a defining event in modern history.

For now, the original trial will pick up where it stood on April 19, when the court had heard all of the prosecution’s evidence, and most of the defense’s. Guatemala’s unrepentant oligarchy, and the lawyers (and judges) who represent them, will do everything they can to derail final resolution and sentencing. But regardless of what happens next, and whether the eighty-year-old genocidaire ever goes to jail, the case reverberates: Guatemala’s steely Attorney General, Claudia Paz y Paz, is likely to move forward with more prosecutions, and next door in El Salvador, bells are beginning to toll for the generals who ran death squads and ordered massacres. Here at home, too, the case sends signals to both current and former U.S. policymakers, if we step back and look at our own history.

Many commentators have stressed that for the first time a living head of state has been convicted of genocide in his or her own country, yet another precedent in establishing the international rule of law regarding human rights and war crimes: first, that a crime against humanity can be prosecuted anywhere, regardless of national sovereignty or executive prerogative; second, that it is the degree of political responsibility for the crime which determines guilt, beyond the question of an individual’s proximity to, or actual participation in, its execution.

Rios Montt’s conviction builds upon the indictment of General Augusto Pinochet by the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon in 1998, and prosecutions at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of Rwandan and Bosnian leaders, as well as the launch and increasing strength of the International Criminal Court. Even if endless appeals keep Rios Montt out of jail, his being forced to face his accusers as they described the extermination of entire villages is a new fact which no leader considering “scorched earth” tactics against a domestic insurgency, or even that leader’s foreign backers, can ignore. Indeed, putting the Pinochet and Rios Montt cases together as precedents suggests the potential for indictments not just in small countries like Guatemala or Chile, but perhaps Moscow, Paris, Beijing, or Washington, D.C."


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Reply Efrain Rios Montt Will Still Face Justice -- and So Should Henry Kissinger (Original post)
BainsBane May 2013 OP
Judi Lynn May 2013 #1
bemildred May 2013 #2
BainsBane May 2013 #3
bemildred May 2013 #4

Response to BainsBane (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2013, 04:47 AM

1. The awards for Henry Kissinger's endeavors just keep on coming, don't they?

"Freedom Award," Indeed.

Through his efforts, perhaps millions of people were "freed" of their lives of poverty, grief, suffering, pain, fear, all thoroughly removed. If they only could, would they thank him?

Don't think so.

So many U.S. Americans are STILL oblivious of what this human sized creature has actually done in his lifetime, they have no idea at all. Apparently they have been led to believe what corporate media told them all these years, and don't even realize they were never told the truth.

What an hideous shame.

Thanks for your article.

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Response to BainsBane (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2013, 06:50 AM

2. Seeing Kissinger called to account before he dies, priceless. nt

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Response to bemildred (Reply #2)

Fri May 24, 2013, 08:44 AM

3. I don't see it happening

If the US had signed on to the International Criminal Court at the Hague, perhaps.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #3)

Fri May 24, 2013, 09:14 AM

4. True, not the healthiest looking guy either, is he? nt

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