Photo: mimundo.org/James Rodriguez. Ixil Maya women demonstrate in support of the continuation of the trial, outside the Supreme Court of Guatemala.
A quick update from Guatemala, where I've been covering the historic tribunal of Jose Efrain Rios Montt, US-backed military dictator of Guatemala during 1982 and 1983, and Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, his then chief of military intelligence. They are on trial in Guatemala City for genocide and crimes against humanity, over charges their regime systematically massacred the country’s indigenous population, and caused mass forced displacement.
This is the first time in modern history that a former head of state has been prosecuted for genocide in a national, as opposed to an international, court.
Last week, the historic trial in the nation's Supreme Court was put on hold when a lower court judge effectively upheld an appeal by the defense to block the trial on procedural grounds. Confusion, concern, and protests by both sides followed.
Yesterday, the nation's Constitutional Court issued a series of provisional rulings that seemed to only deepen that confusion. Today, an appeals court hearing is being held unexpectedly moved to the Guatemalan Supreme Court due to large public turnout, says NISGUA. "Defense lawyers are present without Rios Montt and Rodriguez Sanchez. FAMDEGUA (Asociación de Familiares de Desaparecidos de Guatemala) joins prosecution team in this hearing to resolve appeal."
The case is in limbo while various court authorities and legal teams battle it out. For a breakdown of the legal details:
• Kate Doyle of the National Security Archive and the Open Society Justice Initiative's riosmontt-trial.org shared analysis with Boing Boing here.
• Lisa Laplante of the Open Society Justice Initiative's riosmontt-trial.org blog posts her analysis here. It's technical reading, but there's no better way to understand such a complex and opaque legal process.
• NISGUA, the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, posts their update here.
Photo: Xeni Jardin. Rios Montt, on trial in Guatemala.
At the time of this blog post, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala has not yet ruled on the legality of Judge Flores' decision or the potential annulment of the entire trial. It is possible they will make such a decision today.
Related: US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen J. Rapp is in Guatemala today through April 26 (coincidentally, the anniversary of the assassination of human rights defender Monsignor Juan José Gerardi Conedera), to "attend meetings and consultations related to the trial of José Efraín Ríos Montt."
Here's a Twitter list I created of people who are doing live coverage around the trial here in Guatemala.
I'm posting photos on Instagram, and tweeting as well. I'll remain in country as long as I can to continue following developments in person.
Archives: Guatemala genocide trial coverage on Boing Boing
VIDEO: Relatives of people killed during Guatemala's armed conflict hold up a banner with the names of the dead, during a protest on April 22, 2013 outside the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City. (Xeni Jardin for Boing Boing)
[Video Link] My new book came out today. It’s called Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects. The books is focused on teaching girls lifelong skills — like computer programming, musicality, and how to use basic hand tools — as well as how to be creative problem […]
Hillary Clinton made her first extended public remarks about Edward Snowden late last week, and unfortunately she misstated some basic facts about the NSA whistleblower and how events have played out in the last year. Here’s a breakdown of what she said and where she went wrong: Clinton: “If he were concerned and wanted to […]
The Wall Street Journal was first to report that The Federal Communications Commission will propose new open Internet rules this Thursday that will allow content companies to pay Internet service providers “for special access to consumers.” Under the new rules, service providers may not block or discriminate against specific websites, but they can charge certain […]
If there’s one thing that stayed consistent through the last decade or so of tech industry turmoil, it’s the love affair between techies and Linux. There’s just a ton you can do with the OS, and its open-source format means you can customize your rig from the ground up. Apparently not content with that level […]
Accidents happen. And when they do, you’re going to want a dash cam for a second pair of eyes. At the minimum, a decent dash cam can save you vast sums of time and money in case of an accident. But a really good dash cam can do a whole lot more. Here are six […]
The field of data analytics is growing as fast as the internet itself. Self-driving cars, airline pricing, and huge marketing campaigns are all driven by the insights that data scientists can distill out of vast sums of information. Even with the help of powerful software like Python, it’s a highly skilled position. But those skills […]