Spain to try genocide case of Guatemala's civil war dictator

17th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Spanish High Court will proceed with an investigation into accusations of genocide against former Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt.

17 January 2008

MADRID - The Spanish High Court will proceed with an investigation into accusations of genocide against former Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt, despite his country's refusal to extradite him or cooperate in the inquiry.

Judge Santiago Pedraz said Wednesday that the court will ask for witnesses from around the world to provide evidence against Montt, one of many military rulers who governed Guatemala during the country's 36-year civil war in which 250,000 people died. Many of the people killed were Mayan Indians slaughtered in massacres by the state security forces.

"Genocide is a crime under international law and all members of the international community are obliged to pursue it," Pedraz said in a statement.

He warned that by failing to cooperate in the inquiry Guatemala risks "placing itself among countries who violate their international obligations and spurn the defence of human rights."

With Guatemalan authorities refusing to hand over documents from Montt's rule, Pedraz urged all witnesses or those with information to come forward.

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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