Tuesday May 14, 201301:24 AM GMT
Guatemalan government must apologize to Ixil Mayans for genocide, court rules
Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu (R) rejoices after the sentencing of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt after his genocide trial in Guatemala City, May 10, 2013.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu (R) rejoices after the sentencing of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt after his genocide trial in Guatemala City, May 10, 2013.Over 200,000 people were killed and 40,000 disappeared during the Guatemalan Civil War. Ixil Mayans whose family members were killed in the civil war celebrate the judge's guilty verdict for former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt after his genocide trial in Guatemala City, May 10, 2013.General Efrain Rios Montt (center) announces his military coup, in Guatemala City, March 23, 1982.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu (R) rejoices after the sentencing of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt after his genocide trial in Guatemala City, May 10, 2013.
Tue May 14, 2013 1:19AM
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A court in Guatemala City has ruled that the government must apologize to the Ixil Maya "for the acts of genocide" committed under former dictator Efrain Rios Montt.


At a hearing on reparations for victims of Rios Montt's regime on Monday, Judge Jazmin Barrios also ordered the government to declare March 23 the National Day Against Genocide, marking the day the former dictator took power in a military coup in 1982, AFP reported.

Rios Montt, 86, could not attended Monday’s court hearing because he fainted due to high blood pressure just hours before the hearing started.

The former dictator's lawyer, Francisco Garcia, said Rios Montt began to suffer from unusually high blood pressure after he was jailed at the Matamoros military facility late on Friday.

On Friday, the court found the former general guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 80 years in prison.

Fifty years of his sentence is for genocide and 30 years for war crimes.

Rios Montt was found guilty of ordering the killings of 1,771 Ixil Mayans in Quiche in northern Guatemala during from 1982 to 1983, when he was the dictator of the country.

He is expected to appeal the verdict.

Over 200,000 people were killed in the Guatemalan Civil War of 1960 to 1996, which pitted the right-wing government against various leftist rebel groups, mainly backed by Mayan indigenous people.

Most of the victims of the war were indigenous people.

In September 2011, Judge Carol Patricia Flores accused Rios Montt of genocide but could not prosecute him because he had immunity from prosecution as a congressman.

In January 2012, Rios Montt’s term as a congressman ended. Finally, he was brought to trial, and on May 10, 2013 Rios Montt was found guilty of genocide.

In the 1980s, the United States supported the Guatemalan government’s scorched-earth policy against the Maya and ignored acts of genocide. President Ronald Reagan also supported other right-wing governments and death squads in Central America.

MN/HGL
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