Guatemala: at long last, ex-dictator Rios Montt in court over possible genocide charges

Cloths embroidered with signs are seen in front of the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala City January 26, 2012. Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled the country from 1980-1982 during a bloody civil war, went to the Supreme Court of Justice to declare for the genocide accusations committed during the armed conflict. Rios Montt is one of those accused by Spain of genocide during the 36-year conflict in which some 250,000 people died and 45,000 disappeared from 1960-1996. The sign reads, "In memory of the victims of armed conflict."

Below: Ríos Montt speaks on the phone at the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala City, while indigenous Maya protesters outside carry banners with the faces of "desaparecidos," relatives who disappeared during his military era.

Related coverage: Amnesty International, BBC News, NYT, LAT, and an LAT op-ed today. The Wikipedia entry on Ríos Montt is pretty comprehensive, and includes reminders of Ríos Montt's many links to the US: he was trained at the School of the Americas, was involved in the 1954 CIA-backed coup, and was longtime pals with US power-evangelicals Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell. (photos: REUTERS)