• Former Guatemalan leader Efraín Ríos Montt was found guilty in May 2013 of genocide and crimes against humanity, the first time that any head of state has been convicted of genocide in a national court. The ruling was overturned on procedural grounds days later, however, and a new trial is scheduled for January 2015. The Attorney General’s Office has made progress on other prominent human rights cases, though impunity remains high. The mandate of the United Nations International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which since 2007 has supported efforts to investigate and prosecute organized crime, was extended for two years in September.  President Otto Pérez Molina has said that this will be the commission’s final term. 

  • Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt (C) attends the first session of his trial in the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala City on March 19, 2013.
    The guilty verdict against Efraín Ríos Montt, former leader of Guatemala, for genocide and crimes against humanity is an unprecedented step toward establishing accountability for atrocities during the country’s brutal civil war, Human Rights Watch said today.

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Reports

Guatemala

  • Feb 14, 2014
  • Jun 4, 2013
    National drug control policies that impose criminal penalties for personal drug use undermine basic human rights. To deter harmful drug use, governments should rely instead on non-penal regulatory and public health policies. The 43rd General Assembly of the Organization of American States, taking place in Antigua, Guatemala from June 4 to 6, 2013, will focus on drug control policy in the Americas.
  • May 10, 2013
    The guilty verdict against Efraín Ríos Montt, former leader of Guatemala, for genocide and crimes against humanity is an unprecedented step toward establishing accountability for atrocities during the country’s brutal civil war, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • Apr 19, 2013
    The abrupt suspension of the genocide trial of former de facto head of Guatemala, Efraín Ríos Montt, raises serious concerns about victims’ access to justice, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • Apr 8, 2013
    Former Guatemalan strongman Efraín Ríos Montt went on trial in Guatemala City late last month on charges of genocide relating to the massacres of indigenous Mayan people during his rule.
  • Mar 18, 2013
    The trial of former de facto head of Guatemala, Efraín Ríos Montt, on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, is a landmark achievement in the fight for justice in Guatemala.
  • Jan 28, 2013

    A Guatemalan judge’s decision to try the former de facto head of state, Efraín Ríos Montt, for genocide and crimes against humanity is a major step forward for accountability in Guatemala, Human Rights Watch said today.

  • Oct 11, 2012
    The prompt and comprehensive investigation by the prosecutor’s office into killings at a recent protest in Totonicapán is an important step toward accountability in Guatemala, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • Sep 8, 2009
    Labor Day? Let's be real. The last thing on our minds this weekend is labor rights. Whether we're fortunate enough to have a job or worrying about how to get one in today's economy, we'll focus more on this summer's last hurrah than on the Tuesday- morning-after travails.
  • May 4, 2008
    The country continues to face high levels of violence associated with both electoral politics and common crime. Guatemala’s weak and corrupt law enforcement institutions have proven incapable of containing the powerful organized crime groups that, among other things, are believed responsible for continuing attacks on human rights defenders.