Guatemalan Criminal Tribunal Begins


From the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission:

In Guatemala today, Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez are going to trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for massacres committed against indigenous civilians in Guatemala’s Ixil triangle. This historic case is the first time that a former head of state is being tried for genocide in a domestic court. It is crucial for the nation’s healing process, and will be a key step in ending impunity for the atrocities committed during the war.”

The trial of these major military leaders is an important attempt by human rights defenders and victims to bring those still able to stand trial to justice.  The crimes commited against those who lost life and loved ones to the Guatemalan state’s coordinated terror campaign form a seminal era in Cold War history.  The targeted killing of indigenous peoples across Central America in the name of fighting communism on the US’s dime lays bare the implications of imperialism, indigeneity and land use in a stratified third world country of the 1980s.

Follow the trial monitoring blog organized by the Open Society Justice Initiative!  To access video resources relating to Guatemala’s indigenous struggle, two important films are available in Babbidge library: When the Mountains Tremble, and Granito: How to Nail a Dictator. For a comprehensive archival collection, the Guatemalan Documentation Project coordinated by the National Security Archive contains key documents that will be utilized in the trial.

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About Graham Stinnett

Curator of Human Rights Collections and Alternative Press Collections, Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut. Stinnett holds a Master’s degree in Archival Studies from the History Department at the University of Manitoba, where he also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American History. Stinnett's graduate work focused on human rights non-governmental organizations and their importance to archives and the role of archivist as activist. He has published in the Progressive Librarian on the subject. Stinnett has worked in University Archives with human rights collections at UC Boulder, Manitoba and UConn. His involvement with the Manitoba Gay and Lesbian Archives collection project and the LGBTTQ Oral History Initiative, the El Salvador Human Rights Archive at Boulder and the extensive AltPress & Human Rights Archives at UConn have resulted in a multitude of engagement and outreach activities. He also briefly served as the Archivist for the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club in British Columbia.

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