Ríos Montt Genocide Conviction Annulled by Guatemala’s Highest Court

Several outlets have reported tonight that the genocide conviction of former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt has been annulled. This is what Reuters reported: “Guatemala’s constitutional court on Monday overturned a genocide conviction against former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, throwing out all proceedings in his case since a dispute broke out last month over who should hear it.”

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On May 10, Ríos Montt was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison, according to Reuters, for “overseeing the deliberate killings by the armed forces of at least 1,771 members of the Maya Ixil population during his 1982-83 rule.”

Tweets from @NISGUA_Guate, which has been covering the trial from the very beginning, confirmed the news.

Reporter Xeni Javier provided more details about the decision:

The language of the court ruling specifies that the concluding phase of the trial has been thrown out, along with the verdict and 80-year prison sentence. It states that the phase of the trial in which victim testimony was delivered is still intact. But it’s possible that this effectively means the trial is annulled, and that there must be a new trial, or that there is no posssibility of a guilty verdict. Reporters and international observers I’ve spoken to aren’t exactly sure what is next, as far as whether a trial on the same charges will in fact be re-convened and repeated, or whether Rios Montt, 86, is now guaranteed to be a free man for the rest of his life.

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