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Editorial: Long overdue justice for genocide against Mayans

"Under the brief, bloody and brutal tenure of Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, one of Latin America’s most notorious dictators, Guatemala’s military government earned a global reputation for cruelty 30 years ago. With scorched-earth tactics to prosecute a war against leftist rebels, Guatemalan troops liquidated villages in the Mayan Indian highlands, murdering, raping and torturing unarmed men, women and children with impunity.

Until recently, that impunity extended to Mr. Rios Montt himself, who not only escaped punishment but served most of the past 20 years as a legislator; in 2003, he even sought to recapture the presidency. But in a stunning reversal of fortunes, the former strongman, having lost his seat in the legislature, was stripped of immunity and, in January, indicted for war crimes. Last month, a judge rejected his plea for amnesty.

Even by the blood-soaked standards of Central American Cold War conflicts, Guatemala’s three-decade-long civil war stood out for its carnage and depravity. More than 200,000 people died, many of them in massacres and most of them civilians at the hands of the government’s security forces."

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Editorial: Justice for Guatemala’s ex-strongman (The Washington Post 4/8)

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