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Alliance for solidarity and Action Aid are warning of the danger of a law in Guatemala that Amnesty condemned for crimes against humanity

Wednesday, 14 March 2019
Rosa M Tristan


Alliance for solidarity and Action Aid organizations warn of approval this week, at the Congress of the deputies from Guatemala, a law reform that will involve total amnesty for war criminals who have been convicted for crimes of lesa humanity committed during the armed conflict of the 80s of the last century in the Central American country.

Both NGOs, working in Guatemala for years, denouncing some modifications in the law of national reconciliation involving freedom for convicted of crimes such as genocide, enforced disappearance, rape, or torture. The reform, which reaches its final stage in Congress on Wednesday, November 13, would apply with the retroactivity of the law that the Constitution is devoted to all those who were authors, accomplices or accessories after the fact of these crimes, which should go free within a period of 24 hours.

This national reconciliation law was passed in 1996 as part of the peace agreements signed between the State of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria National Guatemalteca (URNG) and contained an amnesty for crimes committed during the war, except for crimes of against humanity, such as conventions and international standards signed by Guatemala is obligated.

Based on this regulation, in these 23 years the organizations of civil society, victims and family members have brought to justice several soldiers involved in this type of crime, such as genocide (massacres against of the Ixil people), of Zarco Sepur (a village (in which 14 women q' eqchí were abducted by soldiers, who enslaved them and raped), the of Molina Theissen (the enforced disappearance of a minor), the massacre of Coban (more than 500 skeletons of people moved in a clandestine graveyard at a base military), etc. All those convicted of these cases will be free of adopted reform, among them two soldiers imprisoned in 2016 for the case of Zarco Sepur, following the complaint lodged against them that filed 12 women enslaved with the support of the Organization's Women transforming the world (MTM).

Given that the proposed reform is defended by members of the party official, to which belongs the President Jimmy Morales, and other parties in the Chamber is expected to be approved, despite the resounding rejection of various national institutions and both international social and human rights. The United Nations High Commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, already warned that it is a setback for the rights of the victims and "complete impunity for all those involved in truly horrendous violations, including crimes against humanity".

Moreover, Demecia Yat, one of the victims of Zarco Sepur and representatives of all of them, has sent a letter to the heads of political parties against this initiative of law 5377, which says: "we are opposed to these reforms because there are several re sponsables of violations of human rights which has proved its responsibility on the courts and so are doomed. It was much suffering we went through before and after, when we follow the trial. "These reforms only want to leave them free to them and to others that are pending denounce them".

For its part, the Coordinator of the national movement of victims, it brings together several organizations of human and social rights in Guatemala, has already announced legal action against members who approve the reforms.

This reform is one more example of the flight forward of a Government that, in the last year, violated international conventions and agreements with impunity, as it has happened with the expulsion of the International Commission for Alliance for solidarity and Action Aid Against impunity in Guatemala (Cicig), today in the country but little operational with environmental leaders such as Bernardo Caal Xol incarceration, prisoner for defending an indigenous River two hydroelectric plants (Oxec and reborn) and Abelino Chub Caal (defender of the land (community q 'eqchí' is in Alta Verapaz) or with the reform proposal for the law on NGOs, which will limit the freedom of expression and leave social organizations subject to official ministries, with a mainly welfare and null character capacity of reaction to events affecting rights of the Guatemalan people.

Remember that all this takes place with a President that has been accused of forming a "corrupt Pact" with powerful businessmen and whose party, at the gates of presidential elections, scheduled for the month of June, accelerating reforms that cut the human rights and promote to senior members of the army, as it is this new reform.

Alliance and Action Aid require the international community to press the Congress of Guatemala and its President to reverse the amendments of the law of national reconciliation, given that this possible amnesty of convicted of crimes against humanity It goes against the audited by the Inter-American Court of human rights, the Committee on human rights of the United Nations and the International Covenant on civil rights and political, among other international regulations.

In Spain, solidarity Alliance requests the Spanish Government it position in Guatemala for human rights and the victims that remain unprotected with these modifications. We cannot remain apart from what happens in a country that unite us in these important moments economic ties, since large Spanish companies invest in Guatemala.

The indigenous activist Rosalina Tuyuc participated, surrounded by photographs of victims of the civil war, in a protest in front of the Congress of Guatemala - EFE

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