CARACAS, May 11 (Itar-Tass) - Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was sentenced to 80 years in prison for genocide and the crimes against humanity on Friday. General Jose Rodriguez, who headed the military intelligence service under the dictator, was justified. Presiding judge Jassmin Barrios pronounced the verdicts.
The court “believes that the genocide embraced all Guatemalans and that the establishment of the truth will help heal the wounds of the past and that the administering of justice will help the victims,” the newspaper Diario de Centroamerica quoted her as saying. Montt will serve the sentence at the prison Matamoros.
This trial does not have any precedence in Guatemala. For 36 years of a domestic armed conflict in that Central American country many dictators ruled there, but only against Montt, 86, the prosecutor’s office succeeded to gather the evidence, which allowed to find him guilty of genocide and war crimes.
The general came to power in 1982 as a result of a military coup and was toppled in another military coup in 1983. For 1.5 years, when he ruled the country, the Guatemalan army carried out many massive atrocities against the local population. According to the estimates of the human rights organizations, for this period of time no less than 10,000 Guatemalans were killed, but formally the prosecutor’s office accused the former dictator and one of his closest accomplices of the massacre of 1,171 people.