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Human Rights Update 10/11/11

Dear Friend, 

This is a monumental moment for justice in Guatemala. Fifteen years after the signing of the Peace Accords and ten years after survivors took legal action against the military dictatorship responsible for genocide, cases that have languished for years are finally moving forward. We write to you now with deep gratitude for your long partnership with NISGUA, and invite you to celebrate the historic developments in cases that have been a cornerstone of our work for over a decade.

The advances are numerous– in August, five suspected perpetrators of the 1982 Plan de Sanchez massacre of over 250 Maya Achi people were arrested. On October 3rd, the trial of General Hector Mario López Fuentes, opened. López Fuentes is the highest-ranking military official ever to be tried in connection with Guatemala’s genocide. On August 2nd, a Guatemalan court found four former Kaibiles guilty of participating in the 1982 Dos Erres massacre that resulted in the deaths of over 200 people. The attached special report provides more information and background on this historic case.

The Dos Erres sentence and the arrests symbolize a historic opening in Guatemalan society as the nation takes formal steps to acknowledge and compensate for war crimes. Please take action today so that survivors and their legal advocates do not stand alone. The action flyer on the right includes a list of ideas about how you can support the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR) and their legal team.

This fall, Guatemalans face the prospect of a government run by a member of the military for the first time since the signing of the Peace Accords. In November's run-off presidential election, General Otto Pérez Molina will face Manuel Baldizón, a right-wing candidate who has also promoted a military solution to Guatemala’s soaring crime rate. Given the uncertain future of the legal cases, survivors, legal advocates and the Attorney General are prosecuting as many as possible now, while seeking international visibility as a means of protection and political pressure. Your continued partnership is vital to grassroots advocacy and action on the ground that brings global support to the survivors.

We have seen how gains for justice are often met with threats and intimidation. Since the genocide cases were filed in 2001, and with your support, NISGUA has placed over 120 highly-trained accompaniers with the plaintiffs and witnesses. International accompaniment in Guatemala is more critical than ever and we need your help to recruit more candidates for our January GAP training.

Today, we ask you to continue to support NISGUA and the work in Guatemala during this critical time with the presidential election on the horizon and precedent-setting cases in process. There are more victories to be won, more celebrations to be had, and we cannot do it without your participation in our network and your valuable financial contributions.

In Solidarity,


Lara Barth
Network Grassroots Liaison

And all of the NISGUA staff team: 

Kaibiles Sentenced to Over 6,000 Years for Dos Erres Massacre 

Act Now! Justice for Genocide

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