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In Guatemala there was no genocide

resolution is concern of victims' relatives

"Here there was no genocide"
The Parliament of Guatemala approved a non-binding resolution that denied all attempts to commit genocide during the 36 years of civil war (1960-1996), referring to "national reconciliation".

“It is legally impossible - reads the document, that was approved by all parties with 87 votes out of 158 - that there was a genocide case in our territory during the war”. 

The resolution was put forward by Luis Fernando Pérez of the Republican Institutional Party, already known as Guatemalean Republican Front, the party of former Guatemalean dicrator Rios Montt. Montt in the past months was sentenced for the crimes committed from 1982 to 1983 - particularly for the planned execution of 1771 natives - but the verdict was then called off for a formal vice, and the Constitutional Court ordered to restart the proceeding againsyt the defendant. 

Pedro Galvez, a 33 year-old deputy, said he is in favour of this resolution because, as he did not experience the conflict, he thinks it would be impossible for him to judge the events. “We need to go ahead - he said - and get over the past”.

The act that has been just approved should not have any effects on the trial against Montt, which will be resumed in January 2015, but the victims' relatives fear the law could hinder their opportunities to achieve justice.


Also the opposition has criticized the measure, as it worries that the resolution may increase the divisions in the country. Diego Rivera, leader of the Victims' Movement, said the law "hardly hits all those who are on their quest to justice" for the crimes committed during civil war.

Beyond the strictly legal definition of violence leading to 200 thousand deaths and 50 thousand missing people, mostly indigenous people, what we cannot deny is the eliminationist logics behind these crimes. The historical truth cannot be rebuilt by the means of a resolution, in a country which is still strongly divided by the wounds of civil war. 

It is important that the Guatemalean massacres do not fall into oblivion: it helps us draw our attention to the responsibilities for the crimes that have been perpetrated, and silence is the worst enemy of justice.

19 May 2014

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Crimes of genocide and against the humankind

the denial of the individual's value

The first legal definition in the domain of mass persecution dates back to 1915 and concerns the massacres of the Armenian populations perpetrated by the Turks, which were followed by the trials of the perpetrators before the Martial Court. In the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 the Great Powers use the terms "crimes against civilization" and "crimes of lèse-humanity". In the aftermath of Second World War, face the Holocaust tragedy, the Military Tribunal of the Nurnberger Trials against Nazi officials started the proceeding by stating the crimes on which it was competent... On 9 December 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously approved the Convention for the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, which is considered as the most heinous crime against Humanity. 

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