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Caribbean & Central America - May 2013 (ISSN 1741-4458)

A landmark verdict

In a remarkable turn-up for the books, Guatemala’s notoriously flawed justice system is being held up as an example not just for Latin America but the world. This month a 'high risk' court convicted former dictator, Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-1983), of genocide and crimes against humanity, perpetrated by the State during the 1960-1996 civil war and sentenced him to 80 years imprisonment. This signifies the first time anywhere in the world that a domestic court has tried and convicted a former head of State for genocide. The trial, which proved highly polarising within Guatemala, was particularly significant as it took place under the government of President Otto Pérez Molina, a former head of military intelligence.

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