By: Laura Robinson (BTS Cooperant) / Este Chep (Lead Cooperant)
On January 31, Judge Manuel Angel Galvez gave the order of preventative jail for Francisco Cuxum Alvarado, one of the men who had been at large accused in the case of the 36 Maya Achi women. The judge also gave the Attorney General’s office and the complainants three months to prepare their case against the accused.
Gloria Reyes, one of the lead lawyers handling the case, toured the Maritimes last fall on a speaking tour. She commented that with the appointment of the new judge, Miguel Ángel Gálvez, the case is proceeding much more quickly because there are not as many court-ordered postponements.
The previous judge, Claudette Dominguez, had decided in the intermediary hearings not to move to trial and to release the 6 accused men from jail and back into the community. Gloria commented that Dominguez’s decision presented a high risk for the women bringing their testimonies forward and a flight risk for the accused who may not return to court when they are ordered to.
There has been no movement after 7 months concerning the appeal to Claudette Dominguez’s decision. This is because judges haven’t been chosen to examine the appeal. The legal clinic is hoping for a speedy resolution on the appeal in order to proceed to trial on the question of the 6 accused. Two other men are still at large.
The case against Francisco Cuxum Alvarado will resume its intermediary stage in May where the complainants will present the evidence against him and argue that the case should proceed to trial. He stands accused of sexual violence and crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in the Rio Negro massacre on March 13, 1983. The next hearing has been set for May 19, 2020.
Breaking the Silence will continue to follow the case closely and support our partners in the pursuit of justice.