Activist: Ex-Dictator Rios Montt to be Accused of Genocide in Guatemala

Published December 22nd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Legal complaints are to be filed against retired General Efrian Rios Montt for his alleged role in massacres of Mayan groups during Guatemala's 36-year civil war, an activist said Friday. 

"We are in the process of concluding investigations, assembling all possible testimonies to present a legal complaint in the best documented cases," Frank La Rue, director of the Center for Legal Action in Human Rights, told AFP. 

Rios Montt is currently the leader of the governing majority in Congress under President Alfonso Portillo. 

The complaints against Rios Montt will be based on at least 12 massacres and will be filed in Guatemalan courts in the first six months of 2001, La Rue said. 

La Rue said one case cited in the complaint will be a mass grave discovered in the town of Choatulum, in Chimaltenango department, 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of the capital. 

An exhumation was conducted at the site and 20 complete skeletons were found, apparently belonging to indigenous men of the K'akchiquel ethnicity, who were slaughtered by the army between June and October 1982, he said. 

Rios Montt, 74, was the de facto leader of Guatemala, following a bloodless coup, from March 23, 1982 to August 8, 1983, when he was toppled by another coup. 

Rigoberta Menchu, an indigenous Guatemalan and winner of a Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, had lodged charges against Rios Montt in a Spanish Court, which ruled last December 13 that it did not have jurisdiction in the case. Menchu said she would appeal the decision -- GUATEMALA CITY (AFP)  




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