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Former Guatemalan President Jose Efrain Rios Montt may not have to stand trial for genocide and crimes against humanity due to dementia and illness.

Genocide Trial of Former Guatemalan President Suspended Again

Rick Kearns

Former Guatemalan President Jose Efrain Rios Montt may not have to stand trial for genocide and crimes against humanity for the massacre of Maya Ixil people due to his dementia and illness according to rulings made in the last week by a Guatemalan appeals court.

RELATED: Guatemalan Government Has Amnesia; Forgets There Was Genocide

In a ruling on July 25, an Appeals Court blocked the order from Tribunal B of Major Risk to have Rios Montt examined again to determine if he was competent to stand trial. On July 7 he had been declared incompetent to stand trial due to cognitive deterioration by the National Forensic Sciences Institute (NFSI) but the Tribunal Judges ordered another examination based on complaints about the NFSI report.

As of press time the former general was still at his home although both his defense lawyers and attorneys from the Legal Action Center for Human Rights were preparing for more conflict.

At the first hearing on July 22, defense attorneys for Rios Montt stated that due to the diagnosis of dementia and diminished capacity made by the NFSI their client was unable to face trial on the genocide and crimes against humanity charges.

The attorneys asserted that Rios Mont, who is 89, would not be able to attend the hearing, as just transporting him to the court would endanger "his very life and health."  For these reasons, they argued, the process should be suspended.

However, the judges of Tribunal B of High Risk ordered that Rios Montt be sent to the Federico Mora National Hospital of Mental Health for further examination. He was to stay in that hospital from July 25 to August 3.

An official for the Public Ministry had stated that the NFSI report had been altered and since Rios Montt had been prescribed anti-psychotic and various pain medications (Olanzapina, Tramadol and Valdure) these pharmaceuticals would have affected the diagnosis.

On July 25 Magistrate Noe Ventura Loyo, who had ties to the political party founded by Rios Montt, ordered that the transfer be halted and that the defense motion for "personal exhibition" be granted.

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alexjacobs's picture
Submitted by alexjacobs on
One of Ronald Reagan's gifts to the world, he sent Ed Meese on state visit to Guatemala, the day after he left, Rios Montt led his COUP and takeover... Meese was w RR as chief of staff in CALIF & WashDC, cracked down on Berkeley protests when RR was Govnor and in RR's 2nd term became attorney general, he was also a white house liasion for Conservative Evangelical groups...and investigated over IRAN/CONTRA...Rios Montt was an Evangelical and initiated a brutal campaign against Mayan Indians (as alleged supporters of Rebels) Akwesasne Notes reported 50 indians a day died a height of this war...something about the catholic-evangelical divide caused this genocide (also Oil, resources, anti-commie Sandinista craze) and Montt took Meese as accepting of his plans...thanks Ronald Reagan, similar thing in East Timor/Indonesia allowed Govt to massacre natives in 80s...USA did nothing...BUT STILL happening in Indonesia, is it West Timor now? as massacres continue...