Former General and dictator Rios Montt, in a crush of reporters in the Guatemalan Supreme Court. Photo: @xeni.
I am blogging from inside the Guatemalan Supreme Court in Guatemala City this morning, on day 19 of the trial of former Guatemalan General and genocide and de factor dictator Rios Montt, and his then-head of intelligence Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez. Montt's 1982-1983 regime was supported by the United States; during this era many thousands of non-combatant civilians were killed.
My report from yesterday's proceedings is here.
An excellent report from Kate Doyle is here at riosmontt-trial.org, a project of the Open Society Justice Initiative.
The court adjourned at mid-day yesterday, as Judge Jazmin Barrios scolded Ríos Montt's defense team for effectively delaying the judicial process by failing to have defense witnesses present.
This early closure of the trial followed a dramatic moment: the court played series of interviews with Ríos Montt and two senior Army figures, filmed in 1982 by American documentary filmmaker Pamela Yates (Granito, When the Mountains Tremble). The silent, 86 year old Ríos Montt leaned back in his chair and looked up at the younger version of himself at the height of his physical and political vigor; it was a surreal scene, here in the courtroom.
On screen, the former President spoke of being in control of the Army; here in court, his defenders have argued that he did not, and could therefore not be held responsible for atrocities that may have been committed by the Army during his rule. Ríos Montt's own words seemed to contradict that argument.
This trial is unprecedented: it is the first time any former head of state has been tried in a domestic court for genocide and crimes against humanity. Some of Ríos Montt's supporters argue that if he is being brought to trial, so should the American lawmakers who provided him with funds, military training, weapons, and helicopters under former US president Ronald Reagan.
They have a point.
Here's a Twitter list of observers who have been diligently live-tweeting from the trial. Among them: NISGUA Guate (Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala), Plaza Publica, and Rios Montt Trial (a project of the Open Society Initiative).
Many observers in Guatemala who are anti-Ríos Montt, pro-civilian-victims are tweeting with the hashtag #SiHuboGenocidio. A quick search of that hashtag is an interesting glimpse into one element of the Guatemalan zeitgeist.
The U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are now testing a new unmanned drone warship. The first Navy drone ship is a 132-foot ACTUV (Antisubmarine warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel) known as Sea Hunter, which cost around $120 million to build. The military says more can now be produced for $20 […]
U.S. forces bombed a Doctors Without Borders-run hospital in Afghanistan last year, destroying it and killing and injuring scores of medical personnel and patients. But the air strike didn’t amount to a war crime because it was caused by “unintentional human errors, process errors, and equipment failures,” and “other factors,” U.S. military authorities said today.
“China’s first intelligent security robot debuts in Chongqing,” reads the headline in the Chinese Communist Party official newspaper People’s Daily. The riot control robot has a name, “AnBot,” and it’s freaking everyone out even more than your regular garden variety riot control robots because the damn thing looks like a Dalek from Doctor Who. And […]
White hat hackers get paid to find holes in their own employers’ online systems, and plug those holes before they become serious security risks. It’s a job that pays handsomely…mostly because few job candidates, even experienced IT professionals, have the skills to scamper over firewalls and infiltrate the deepest recesses of a battle-tested network. But […]
Why buy one of those expensive and confusing universal remotes, clogged with enough buttons to launch a space shuttle, when you could accomplish the same electronic control right on your favorite mobile device? The Blumoo Universal Remote, now just $52.99 in the Boing Boing Store, harnesses the audio power of all your household equipment right […]
You may not love Microsoft Word, but you’ve definitely used it. Other than being one of the most ubiquitous programs on the planet, it’s been the go-to word processing system for more than a quarter-century because it’s as basic as it gets. But occasionally, you’ve got assignments that beg for a lot more options than simple […]