Republic of Guatemala
Republica de Guatemala
Joined United Nations: 21 November 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 06 December 2012
14,099,032 (July 2012 est.)
President elected by popular vote for a four-year term (may not
serve consecutive terms); election last held 11 September 2011;
runoff held on 6 November 2011
Next scheduled election: September 2015
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
According to the Guatemala constitution, the President is both
the Chief of State and Head of Government
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish - in local Spanish called Ladino) and European 59.4%, K'iche 9.1%, Kaqchikel 8.4%, Mam
7.9%, Q'eqchi 6.3%, other Mayan 8.6%, indigenous non-Mayan 0.2%, other 0.1% (2001 census)
Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs
Constitutional democratic republic with 22 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Legal system is a civil law
system; judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Executive: President elected by popular vote for a four-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 11
September 2011; runoff held on 11 September 2011 (next to be held in September 2015)
Legislative: Unicameral Congress of the Republic or Congreso de la Republica (158 seats; members are elected by popular vote
to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 9 September 2007 (next to be held in September 2011)
Judicial: Constitutional Court or Corte de Constitutcionalidad is Guatemala's highest court (five judges are elected for concurrent
five-year terms); Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (13 members serve concurrent five-year terms and elect a
president of the Court each year from among their number; the president of the Supreme Court of Justice also supervises trial
judges around the country, who are named to five-year terms)
Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi,
Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)
The first proof of human settlers in Guatemala goes back to 10,000 BC, although there is some evidence that put this date at
18,000 BC, such as obsidian arrow heads found in various parts of the country. There is archaeological proof that early Guatemalan
settlers were hunters and gatherers, but pollen samples from Petén and the Pacific coast indicate that maize cultivation was
developed by 3500 BC. Archaic sites have been documented in Quiché in the Highlands and Sipacate, Escuintla on the central
Pacific coast (6500 BC). By 2500 BC, small settlements were developing in Guatemala’s Pacific lowlands, including such places as
Tilapa, La Blanca, Ocós, El Mesak, and Ujuxte, where the oldest ceramic pottery from Guatemala has been found. A heavy
concentration of pottery on the Pacific coast has been documented dating from 2000 BC. Recent excavations suggest that the
Highlands were a geographic and temporal bridge between Early Preclassic villages of the Pacific coast and later Petén lowlands
cities. The city of El Mirador was the biggest city in ancient America, has the largest pyramid in the world, at 2,800,000 Mt2 of
volume (some 200,000 more than the Giza pyramid in Egypt), and was by far the most populated city in the pre-Columbian
America. In fact, Mirador was the first politically organized state in America, named the Kan Kingdom in ancient texts. Sent out by
Hernán Cortés with 120 horsemen, 300 footsoldiers and several hundred Cholula and Tlascala auxiliaries, Pedro de Alvarado was
engaged in the conquest of the highlands of Guatemala from 1523 to 1527. He left Tenochtitlán, with 120 Cavalry units, 160
crossbowers and riflemen, 4 heavy artillery pieces, 300 infantry men, and 20,000 tlaxcaltec, cholulas, and mexicas. He entered
Guatemala from Soconusco on the Pacific lowlands, headed for Xetulul Humbatz, (Zapotitlan). Alvarado at first allied himself with
the Cakchiquel nation to fight against their traditional rivals the Quiché nation. The last cities conquered were Tayasal, capital of the
Itzá Maya, and Zacpetén, capital of the Ko'woj Maya, both in 1697, after several attempts, including a failed attempt by Hernan
Cortez in 1542. In order to conquer these last Maya sites, the Spaniards had to attack them on three fronts, one coming from
Yucatan, another from Belize, and the third one from Alta Verapaz. During Spanish colonial rule, most of Central America came
under the control of the Captaincy General of Guatemala. It extended from the Soconusco region - now in southern Mexico (states
of Chiapas, Tabasco) - to Costa Rica. This region was not as rich in minerals (gold and silver) as Mexico and Peru, and was
therefore not considered to be as important. Its main products were sugarcane, cocoa, blue añil dye, red dye from cochineal
insects, and precious woods used in artwork for churches and palaces in Spain. The first colonial capital of Guatemala, now called
Vieja, was ruined by floods and an earthquake in 1542. Survivors founded a second city of Guatemala, now known as La Antigua
Guatemala, in 1543. In the 17th century, Antigua Guatemala became one of the richest capitals in the New World. Guatemala
gained independence from Spain on September 15, 1821; it briefly became part of the Mexican Empire and then for a period
belonged to a federation called The United Provinces of Central America, until the federation broke up in civil war in 1838–1840.
Guatemala's "Liberal Revolution" came in 1871 under the leadership of Justo Rufino Barrios, who worked to modernize the
country, improve trade, and introduce new crops and manufacturing. During this era coffee became an important crop for
Guatemala. Barrios had ambitions of reuniting Central America and took the country to war in an unsuccessful attempt to attain this,
losing his life on the battlefield in 1885 against forces in El Salvador. The U.S.-based multinational United Fruit Company (UFC)
started becoming a major force in Guatemala in 1901, during the long presidencies of Manuel José Estrada Cabrera and General
Jorge Ubico. During the latter's dictatorship in the 1930's, Guatemala was further opened up to foreign investment, with special
favours being made from Ubico to the United Fruit Company in particular. In 1944, General Jorge Ubico's dictatorship was
overthrown by the "October Revolutionaries", a group of dissident military officers, students, and liberal professionals who were
empowered by the wave of revolutions that swept up old, unpopular dictatorships in Venezuela, Cuba, and El Salvador around the
same time. In response to the increasingly autocratic rule of Gen. Ydígoras Fuentes, who took power in 1958 following the murder
of Col. Castillo Armas, a group of junior military officers revolted in 1960. When they failed, several went into hiding and
established close ties with Cuba. Shortly after President Julio César Méndez Montenegro took office in 1966, the army launched a
major counterinsurgency campaign that largely broke up the guerrilla movement in the countryside. The guerrillas then concentrated
their attacks in Guatemala City, where they assassinated many leading figures, including U.S. Ambassador John Gordon Mein in
1968. Between 1966 and 1982, there were a series of military or military-dominated governments. Ríos Montt's brief presidency
was probably the most violent period of the 36-year internal conflict, which resulted in thousands of deaths of mostly unarmed
indigenous civilians. General Mejía allowed a managed return to democracy in Guatemala, starting with a July 1, 1984 election for a
Constituent Assembly to draft a democratic constitution. On May 30, 1985, after nine months of debate, the Constituent Assembly
finished drafting a new constitution, which took effect immediately. Presidential and congressional elections were held on November
11, 1990. After a runoff ballot, Jorge Antonio Serrano Elías was inaugurated on January 14, 1991, thus completing the first
transition from one democratically elected civilian government to another. On June 5, 1993, Congress, pursuant to the 1985
constitution, elected the Human Rights Ombudsman, Ramiro de León Carpio, to complete Serrano's presidential term. De León
was not a member of any political party; lacking a political base but with strong popular support, he launched an ambitious
anticorruption campaign to "purify" Congress and the Supreme Court, demanding the resignations of all members of the two bodies.
Progress in carrying out Portillo's reform agenda during his first year in office was slow. As a result, public support for the
government sank to nearly record lows by early 2001. Although the administration made progress on such issues as taking state
responsibility for past human rights cases and supporting human rights in international fora, it failed to show significant advances on
combating impunity in past human rights cases, military reforms, a fiscal pact to help finance peace implementation, and legislation to
increase political participation. In July 2003, the Jueves Negro demonstrations rocked the capital, forcing the closing of the US
embassy and the UN mission, as supporters of Ríos Montt called for his return to power. His supporters demanded that the nation's
courts overturn a ban against former coup leaders so that he could run as a presidential candidate in the 2003 elections. The
supporters were given meals by FRG in return for protesting. On November 9, 2003, Óscar Berger, a former mayor of Guatemala
city, won the presidential election with 38.8% of the vote. However, because he failed to achieve a fifty percent majority, he won a
runoff election on December 28, defeating the center-left candidate Álvaro Colom. Ríos Montt trailed a distant third with just 11%.
In early October 2005, Guatemala was devastated by Hurricane Stan, a relatively weak storm that triggered a flooding disaster that
left at least 1,500 people dead. On September 9 2007 Alvaro Colom was elected to replace Oscar Berger as president. In
November 2011 Otto Pérez Molina was elected president with 54% of the vote. Pérez is the first former military official to be
elected to the presidency since Guatemala's return to democratic elections in 1986. He also controversially proposed the legalisation
of drugs as opposed to War on Drugs that is widely perceived as a failure.
Source: Wikipedia: History of Guatemala
Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of the average for Latin
America and the Caribbean. The agricultural sector accounts for 13% of GDP and 38% of the labor force; key agricultural exports
include coffee, sugar, bananas, and vegetables. The 1996 peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major
obstacle to foreign investment, and since then Guatemala has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. The
Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force in July 2006 spurring increased
investment and diversification of exports, with the largest increases in ethanol and non-traditional agricultural exports. While
CAFTA-DR has helped improve the investment climate, concerns over security, the lack of skilled workers and poor infrastructure
continue to hamper foreign direct investment. The distribution of income remains highly unequal with the richest 20% of the
population accountingfor more than 51% of Guatemala's overall consumption. More than half of the population is below the national
poverty line and 13% of the population lives in extreme poverty. Poverty among indigenous groups, which make up 38% of the
population, averages 73% and extreme poverty rises to 28%. Nearly one-half of Guatemala's children under age five are chronically
malnourished, one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. Given Guatemala's large expatriate community in the United States,
it is the top remittance recipient in Central America, with inflows serving as a primary source of foreign income equivalent to nearly
two-fifths of exports or one-tenth of GDP. Economic growth fell in 2009 as export demand from US and other Central American
markets dropped and foreign investment slowed amid the global recession, but the economy recovered gradually in 2010-11 and
will likely return to more normal growth rates in 2012.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Guatemala)
Drug trafficking has reached staggering proportions in Guatemala, with corruption extending to top positions of many branches of
government. Various narco-mafias vie for control of the remote northern jungle regions of Petén, where drugs, arms, and people all
cross the border into Mexico, mostly bound for the United States. Drug trafficking is undoubtedly the greatest threat to political
freedom in Guatemala today. The country is plagued by lynchings which severely blemish the country's humans rights record as a
violation of due process of law.
The Berger administration was hailed in some circles for its work in devolution. Guatemala has always been a strongly centralized
state and the administration sought to take halt the growing pre-eminence of the Capital. For example the administration had
engaged in mobile cabinets where the President and all his ministers will go into the country and change the seat of power every so
often, to be "closer to the people".
In September 2006 the PNC (civil national police), in a joint action with the national military took by storm the Pavon detention
center, a prison with 1,500 inmates which until that date hadn't been requisitioned for 10 years and which was a hub of criminal
activity. Some inmates, the guard of the chief of the mafiosi what ran the prison and the leader himself resisted the onslaught of
forces of law with AK-47 and handguns, they were massacred. Around 3,000 infantry and 4 tanks participated in the action. This
was a milestone of the history of Guatemala and made national headlines.
2006 saw the dismemberment of the GANA in the face of the 2007 elections. It fractured into many parties, damaging the ability of
the government to get legislation through congress.
In the November 2007 second round presidential elections, Álvaro Colom of the UNE was elected president, defeating ex general
Otto Perez Molina of the PP. And in 2011, Retired General Otto Pérez Molina of the Patriotic Party won the presidential election in
a runoff against populist Manuel Baldizón of the LIDER party. Pérez Molina assumed office on January 14th, 2012 and his vice
president is Roxana Baldetti.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Guatemala
Annual ministerial meetings under the OAS-initiated Agreement on the Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building
Measures continue to address Guatemalan land and maritime claims in Belize and the Caribbean Sea; the Line of Adjacency
created under the 2002 Differendum serves in lieu of the contiguous international boundary to control squatting in the sparsely
inhabited rain forests of Belize's border region; Mexico must deal with thousands of impoverished Guatemalans and other Central
Americans who cross the porous border looking for work in Mexico and the United States
IDPs: undetermined (three decades of internal conflict that ended in 1996 displaced mainly indigenous people) (2009)
Major transit country for cocaine and heroin; in 2005, cultivated 100 hectares of opium poppy after reemerging as a potential
source of opium in 2004; potential production of less than 1 metric ton of pure heroin; marijuana cultivation for mostly domestic
consumption; proximity to Mexico makes Guatemala a major staging area for drugs (particularly for cocaine); money laundering
is a serious problem; corruption is a major problem
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Reports: Guatemala
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
Guatemala is a multiparty constitutional republic. On November 6, Otto Perez Molina of the Patriot Party (PP) won the presidential
election for a four-year term beginning January 2012. International observers considered the election generally free and fair. During the
year security forces reported to civilian authorities, although there were instances in which members of the security forces, particularly
the police, acted independently of civilian control.
The principal human rights-related problems included widespread institutional corruption, particularly in the police and judicial sectors;
police involvement in serious crimes, including unlawful killings, drug trafficking, and extortion; and widespread societal violence,
including violence against women and numerous killings, many related to drug trafficking.
The country’s human rights problems also included harsh and dangerous prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; failure of the
judicial system to ensure full and timely investigations and fair trials; failure to protect judicial sector officials, witnesses, and civil society
representatives from intimidation; threats and intimidation against, and killings of, journalists and trade unionists; discrimination against
women; trafficking in persons; discrimination against indigenous communities; discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and
gender identity; and ineffective enforcement of labor and child labor laws.
The government increased its efforts to prosecute and punish officials in the security services and elsewhere in the government who
committed crimes and abuses. However, impunity for crimes committed by government officials remained a widespread problem.
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30 March 2012
UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
New York, 12 to 30 March 2012
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant
Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee
2. The Committee welcomes the third periodic report of Guatemala and the information set forth therein. Expresses its appreciation for
the opportunity to continue its constructive dialogue with the delegation of the State party on the measures taken by it during the period
to which the report relates to implement the provisions of the Covenant. The Committee commends the State party for its written replies
(CCPR/C/GTM/Q/3/Add.1) to the list of issues (CCPR/C/GTM/Q/3), supplemented by oral responses provided by the delegation, as well
as additional information provided to it in writing.
3. The Committee welcomes the ratification of the Rome Statute in January 2012.
4. The Committee also welcomes:
a) the adoption of the Law on the prison system and its Regulations,
b) the adoption of the Law against Femicide and Other Forms of Violence against Women, Decree No. 22-2008, and the approval of the
Law against Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons, Decree No. 9-2009 of Congress the Republic of Guatemala;
c) the signing of Bilateral Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Guatemala and the International Commission against
Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) to assist and strengthen the effect of the investigation of human rights violations and acts of organized
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
5. The Committee is concerned about the apparently low level of knowledge of the provisions of the Covenant by the people, the
judiciary and lawyers, resulting in a small number of cases in which the provisions of the Covenant have been invoked or enforced by
the judicial officers. (Art. 2)
The State party should ensure full compliance in the national law of the obligations under the Covenant. To that end, the State must
sensitize judges, judicial officers and the public about the rights contained in the Covenant and its applicability in domestic law. In its next
periodic report, the State party should include detailed information on the implementation of the Covenant by national courts.
6. The Committee welcomes the progress that has been made in the investigation, prosecution and punishment for genocide and other
serious human rights violations committed during the internal armed conflict. However, the Committee is concerned about the messages
set a personal basis by senior representatives of the executive branch that challenge and delegitimize these efforts, and the lack of a state
policy as a whole to support research initiatives and sanctions that are in progress . The Committee also regrets the deficiencies persist in
terms of the institutional capacity of the judiciary to fulfill its function properly in all cases. (Arts. 2, 14)
The State party should take a clear position in support of the cases brought by the Justice Department and the courts in cases of
genocide and other grave human rights violations committed during the internal armed conflict. The State party should also provide legal
and research institutions all human and material resources needed to fulfill its international obligations on human rights.
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Indigenous protesters killed by Guatemalan security forces
Oct 12 2012 - 10:07am
Freedom House is concerned by Guatemalan security forces’ excessive use of force to repress a social protest in Totonicapán,
Guatemala last week and calls for a thorough investigation into the incident. Freedom House urges the Guatemalan government to use
peaceful means to maintain order during protests, and to promote dialogue with indigenous communities.
According to news sources, 48 indigenous communities were protesting against electricity hikes, education issues and the perceived
militarization of civil society. More than eight people were killed and 34 injured during the joint police and military operation. Security
forces claimed they opened fire against the protesters in self-defense. However, videos and witness testimonies indicate otherwise,
showing that police used tear gas indiscriminately and that soldiers fired at the protesters immediately after arriving at the scene.
Guatemala is ranked Partly Free in Freedom of the World 2012, Freedom House’s annual global assessment of political rights and civil
liberties, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2012.
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Guatemala: Transforming pain into hope: human rights defenders in the Americas
7 December 2012
YoLanda Oquuli, Guatemaaa
Take action now
Support human rights defenders in the Americas
Human rights defenders in the Americas play a vital role in exposing and combating human rights violations. Many have paid a high price
for their courageous efforts to break cycles of injustice, discrimination and impunity. In the past few years, hundreds have been
persecuted and attacked with impunity. Despite the lack of effective protection for themselves and their families, they continue their
struggle – transforming their pain into hope.
Yolanda Oquelí survived an attempt on her life in June 2012. She was returning home from an anti-mining protest when two men on a
motorcycle shot her. The attack followed a series of death threats. Yolanda Oquelí is campaigning for her community’s environmental
rights and against the lack of consultation over the opening of the El Tambor Gold Mine. El Tambor is operated by the Guatemalan
company Exmingua, until August 2012 a subsidiary of the Canadian company Radius Gold.
Human rights defenders in Guatemala face grave risks because of their work. Support them by urging the government to publicly
recognize their legitimate human rights work, to investigate the attacks and to provide effective protection.
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Guatemala: Swift Charges Against Soldiers for Killing Protesters
President, Cabinet Should Refrain From Interference in Case
October 11, 2012
The prompt and comprehensive investigation by the prosecutor’s office into killings at a recent protest in Totonicapán is an important
step toward accountability in Guatemala, Human Rights Watch said today.
At a news conference on October 11, 2012, Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz announced charges against an army colonel and eight
soldiers for the deaths of 6 protesters on October 4. Paz said that arrest warrants were issued following an investigation conducted by
125 agents from her office, who collected testimony from 150 witnesses and extensive forensic evidence from the crime scene
including spent shell casings, tear gas canisters and blood samples, and carefully studied pertinent photographs and videos.
“The attorney general’s actions send a clear message that crimes such as the killing of the Totonicapán protesters will be investigated
promptly and with determination by her office,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “That is one of
the most effective ways to prevent serious crimes such as these from being repeated in the future.”
The killings occurred when protesters blocked a highway in Totonicapán, nearly 100 miles west of Guatemala’s capital, to protest a
number of changes promoted by the government, such as raising electricity costs and more onerous requirements to obtain a teaching
license. In addition to the six people killed, more than thirty people were wounded.
Paz said the evidence indicates that the colonel charged in the case did not follow protocol in coordinating his actions with the national
police, who were also responding to the protest, and deployed soldiers under his command to the area without identifying an escape
route. The investigation determined that eight of the soldiers had fired their arms. Two will be charged with carrying out extrajudicial
executions, and the remaining soldiers with attempted extrajudicial executions, Paz said at the news conference.
In a news conference on October 5, President Otto Perez Molina had said that the first shots at the protest had been fired by private
security guards, not soldiers, and that seven soldiers had fired into the air “because they feared for their safety.”
After meeting with foreign diplomats on October 9, Foreign Minister Harold Caballeros said at a news conference, “Although it sounds
very bad to say it…every day we have two times the number of the eight deaths, so it is not such a big deal.” After receiving criticism
via his twitter account for the comments, Caballeros called the critics “jerks” and disparaged them, saying they should not believe
everything they read.
The determination of the soldiers’ guilt should be left to civilian courts based on the evidence presented by prosecutors and defense
lawyers, Human Rights Watch said.
“President Perez Molina and others should not be making comments prejudging the culpability of the suspects or others, but rather
should allow the investigation to proceed independently,” Vivanco said. “Comments by Foreign Minister Caballeros dismissing these
tragic deaths as unworthy of serious attention are particularly shameful.”
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Government sympathizes with family of eight compatriots killed
Thursday, 06 December 2012 17:36
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minex) Thursday gave the remains of eight Guatemalans were found and identified in mass graves in
San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico, in April 2011.
Government authorities of Guatemala sympathized and gave condolences to the family, to whom were given the polls of the victims.
The Deputy Minister of the Portfolio of Sciolli Rita Claverie said that after 19 months of waiting, research and DNA testing as the
primary tool for the identification and location of the countrymen, could repatriate the remains of these Guatemalans.
He also said that these compatriots what they wanted was a better future and opportunities for their families, and that migrants have
become the most profitable prey transnational mafias and organized crime, which do not distinguish nationalities.
¨ In countries of origin, transit, destination and return, is that you have the responsibility to jointly fight against criminal networks that
threaten the lives of thousands of migrants. We must also ensure universal human rights, such as respect for life and integrity ¨
population, Diaz said.
Minex authorities pledged to work tirelessly for the rights of all migrants and strengthen cooperation mechanisms that are necessary for
such crimes are not repeated and that they will not go unpunished, so as punished according to law the intellectual and material authors
of these facts.
The fatalities were identified with the names: William Rodriguez Alejandro, originally Jutiapa department; Bilder Osbely Merida Lopez and
Daniel Jacinto Lopez, originally from San Marcos. Erick also Raúl Velásquez Vail, Marvin Chavez Velasquez, Miguel Angel Chavez
Velasquez, Quetzaltenango, Gregoria Can Escun, Solola, and Cusanero Delfino García, Chimaltenango.
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The amnesty does not cover cases of genocide, says prosecutor
Thursday, November 22, 2012 11:29
The crimes against humanity and war crimes can not be amnestied and Guatemala must fulfill its international commitment to investigate,
prosecute and punish those responsible for these cases, said the Human Rights Ombudsman of the country, Jorge de León.
AGENCY FOR GUATEMALA ACAN-EFE
ACAN-EFE - In an interview with Efe, Leon recalled that Guatemala has ratified international instruments, including the Rome Statute,
which "expressly prohibit" the amnesty and pardon in cases of genocide, forced disappearances, war crimes and against humanity.
In Guatemala, the retired General José Efraín Ríos Montt, Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes and Jose Rodriguez are prosecuted for the killing
of some 700 thousand Ixil Indians in the 1980s, and have called for the protection of amnesty passed in 1996, after the end of armed
conflict that bled the country for 36 years.
Family members and victims of genocide during the civil war, which left some 250,000 people dead or missing, described the request of
the ex-generals as a legal strategy "dilatory".
De Leon, who served three months on Wednesday in the office of Ombudsman for Human Rights, said the amnesty included in the
National Reconciliation Act passed in 1996 can not be applied to the three military retirees.
"If we look at the national and international regulations, and case law, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, categorically
not fit in the amnesty," argued Judge, 41, a lawyer and son of the late president of Guatemala Ramiro Leon (1993-1996).
In the opinion of the Solicitor, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Convention against
Torture, the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute, ratified by Guatemala and that ensure universal protection of human rights, must
be met by the Central American country.
"Applying these amnesties" requested by ex-generals "international obligations would be adrift. Therefore, reiterate that the amnesty
application is contrary to the American Convention on Human Rights," he said.
The rulings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have also established case law establishing that promote or grant pardons in
cases of crimes against humanity at odds with the system, and the State of Guatemala is obliged to investigate, indict, prosecute and
punish those responsible and provide redress to victims, said.
De Leon said that the whole world has seen welcome the decision that Guatemala has agreed, in January, the jurisdiction of the
International Criminal Court (ICC) to ratify the Rome Statute.
Then, grant amnesty to military trial for genocide "would be contradictory" said Leon.
The attorney said that the military has invoked the amnesty because "surely" is part of a series of mechanisms that are entitled as "a
But he said that any offense in the country, including genocide, can judge with responsibility, and suggested that this will lead to the
desired reconciliation after the breakdown of the social fabric during the internal war.
"We must understand that justice is important, and that to the extent that we discover the truth may be reconciliation," he said.
"Our society and the world at large is hungry for justice. Forgiveness and also need a lot of reconciliation, but because there has been no
justice we are facing, the mood is very heated, there are many pockets of seizure and that is very worrying" said Leon.
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Demand protection for the communities in resistance in San Jose del Golfo
13 November 2012
As you read this, the communities in resistance to mining in San Jose del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc are holding their ground at the
roadblock they have maintained since March of this year as they are threatened by a large group of pro-mining provocateurs.
Please contact the US Embassy in Guatemala and the US mining company to demand that they ensure the safety of these brave men and
At around 10am on Tuesday the 13th of November, approximately 80 people from San Jose del Golfo and surrounding municipalities
wearing hats and shirts from EXMINGUA, the subsidiary of the US company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates, tried to open access to
the mine. They were unarmed, but many acted very threateningly towards those at the roadblock. Rumors circulated that the company
offered money to near-by residents to participate.
As the day drew to a close, non-violent resistance won out, and the pro-mining group retreated.
However, each day since, the group has arrived again and threatened the communities in resistance. We're extremely concerned for the
safety of these non-violent protesters.
Email the US Embassy and the company now. Urge them to prevent violence against peaceful protesters.
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Otto Fernando Perez Molina
President since 14 January 2012
Ingrid Roxana Baldetti Elias
Vice President since 14 January 2012
Current situation: Guatemala is a source, transit, and destination country for Guatemalans and Central Americans trafficked for
the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; human trafficking is a significant and growing problem in the
country; Guatemalan women and children are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, primarily to Mexico
and the United States; Guatemalan men, women, and children are also trafficked within the country, and to Mexico and the United
States, for forced labor
Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - for a second consecutive year, Guatemala is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide
evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons, particularly with respect to ensuring that trafficking offenders are
appropriately prosecuted for their crimes; while prosecutors initiated trafficking prosecutions, they continued to face problems in
court with application of Guatemala's comprehensive anti-trafficking law; the government made modest improvements to its
protection efforts, but assistance remained inadequate overall in 2007 (2008)
Otto Fernando Perez Molina
President since 14 January 2012