Guatemala: photos from the Rios Montt genocide tribunal

Fredy Peccerelli of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG) testifying Wednesday, April 10; Rios Montt at the defense table in the background.

I'm in Guatemala with Miles O'Brien, working on a report for the PBS NewsHour on the genocide trial of Jose Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled Guatemala from 1982-1983, and Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, his chief of military intelligence. They are being tried here in Guatemala City for genocide and crimes against humanity.

Above and below, some stills from the video we've been shooting inside the courtroom. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for snapshots throughout the day. And if you're interested in monitoring the trial, listen here, watch here, or follow this Twitter list I threw together.

All photos: screengrabs from video shot by Miles O'Brien.

CC license: Non-commercial sharing with credit is okay. For commercial use, ask.

Former General and de facto dictator Rios Montt listens to a prosecution witness.

Ixil massacre survivors, witnesses for the prosecution, who testified earlier in the trial about their experiences during the war.

An Ixil Maya woman assists another witness from her community with "Beats by Dr. Dre" headphones supplied by the court for translation audio from Spanish to Ixil.

Rios Montt enters the courtroom with his daughter, Zury Rios, who is a prominent political and social figure here in Guatemala. Her husband is former US congressman Jerry Weller.

The in-court setup of the "Genocidio Nunca Mas" live video streamers.

There is a strong presence of armed security personnel inside the courtroom and throughout the building.

Judge Jazmin Barrios, center.


  1. dont miss… this crime was CIA supported, America: dont let this happen again… keep your dogs on a leash..!–it was worth it?…I mean…what was CIA’s, strategic gain out of 7 yrs. olds raping and murderings?

    1. Keeping the Soviets, or Soviet-influence, out of Guatemala? That’s not to say that they didn’t have other motivations, or that this was their actual prime motivation instead of a superficial one, or that it didn’t have longer term effect on U.S. power that was worse than a stronger Soviet presence at an earlier time.  But if the CIA’s actions did in fact keep out Soviet-influence, and prevented another “Cuba” from existing within the Americas, then they probably feel it was worth it. 

      1. Cuba is pretty benign compared to the right-wing puppet regimes the US supported throughout Latin America. As well, just look at Honduras since the coup there, it’s the actual murder capital of Latin America, not Venezuela as we are misleadingly told by our corporate media. There’s a popular joke in Latin America: Why doesn’t the US have any coups? Because there’s no US embassy there.

        1. I was thinking more in the terms of the Cuban missile crisis.  However, this is not the area of my expertise, so perhaps there were deeper concerns with other more subtle threats to be concerned with.

          1.  Ugh. “Threats.” Even when, by your own admission, you don’t know what happened, you assume benign intention. Because the US, somehow, must have had a good reason to act: there must have been a threat, and their decisions were not in any way shaped by paternalism, economic interests, or racism. From someone who actually has studied this extensively: stop assuming good faith.

      2.  No.  The reason the CIA was so interested in Central America was that they could use it as a live laboratory for their techniques.  The CIA funded and taught sociopaths how to torture and terrorize.

      3. You’re incredibly, deeply naïve, probably because you can afford to be. Do you think the United States supports Israel because of the Holocaust, too? US intervention in Latin America predates the Cold War by many years – and it’s always been connected to business interests. Interestingly, the US always found a way for “the Soviets” to be somehow to blame for whenever anyone meddled with American economic interests in the region.

        Even if you accepted the CIA’s reasoning – why would you even use that as a justification? The results are there. Unless you believe the CIA’s values are inherently more valuable than Latin American societies, there’s nothing defensible about their actions.

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