By: Este Chep, BTS Lead Cooperant
Hearings on the Maya Ixil genocide case began in early November 2019. On November 4th, the first hearing was held on the case representing 1731 victims against military men Benedicto Lucas Garcia and Manuel Callejas y Callejas on charges of crimes against humanity, genocide and forced disapperances. Both of the accused have already been sentenced in the Molina Theissen case. Among the new charges are those of 42 rapes, 81 forced disappearances and 404 victims of massacres from 1978-1982 during the presidency of Romero Lucas Garcia. The majority of victims range in age from 0-12 years old.
On November 29th, Judge Jimy Rodolfo Bremer Ramirez also gave the official order to initiate the trial against Colonel Luis Enrique Mendoza Garcia for genocide and crimes against humanity against 1,442 Maya Ixil peoples between April 1982 and July 1983. The case provides sufficient proof that as part of the military coup government of Efrain Rios Montt, Mendoza Garcia was a military leader who participated in cruel and violent treatments by the state against civilian populations. The judge also added that there is reason to believe that there was an intention to eliminate the Maya Ixil population, who were seen as combative and rebellious. Bail for the accused was set at Q30,000 (approximately $5,000 CND) and he was placed under house arrest, as well as prohibited from travelling outside of the department of Guatemala.