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Urgent Interventions

Request to the European Union (EU) to monitor and support the progress against impunity in Guatemala

Brussels, Guatemala City, 27-07-2011

Re: Request to the European Union (EU) to monitor and support theprogress against impunity in Guatemala.

Dear EU Ambassadors in Guatemala,

Dear Head of the EU Delegation in Guatemala,

The undersigned networksand European and international civil society organizations welcome the historicprogress against impunity in Guatemala, following thedetention and initiation of legal proceedings against General Héctor MarioLópez Fuentes, accused of committing genocide and crimes against humanity. Weask the EU to pay special attention to such legal proceedings and, inparticular, to the due process as it is unique, historical and of greatimportance for the entire Guatemalan society.

As the allegedintellectual author, the detainee is accused, among other issues, of beingresponsible for twelve massacres, direct deaths, rape, threats and persecution.He is also accused of creating inhumane conditions for over nine thousandpeople, perpetrated against the Ixil Maya people in the department of Quiché,from 23 March 1982 to October 21 1983, under the regime of GeneralEfraín Ríos Montt.

This first case ofprosecution of genocide is a historic opportunity for the Guatemalan justiceadministration system to continue to take steps towards bringing down theimpunity that has lasted for almost thirty years, guarantee the rights of thevictims' families and survivors to truth, justice and redress, and adopt andimplement measures of non-recurrence, thus promoting the opening of new legalproceedings for the crimes against humanity committed during the internal armedconflict that afflicted Guatemala for 36 years.

Having regard to Article10A of the Treaty of Lisbon of the European Union, the democratic clause laiddown in the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU andCentral America, the EU Guidelines on Human Rights -particularly on humanrights defenders and combating torture and other cruel, inhuman or degradingpunishment or treatment-, we ask you to:

- Express your support to public institutions and officials in charge of clarifying the serious violations of human rights and breaches of international humanitarian law committed during theinternal armed conflict, so the Guatemala State will fulfill their obligationsto research, identify, prosecute and, as the case may be, sanction thosematerially or intellectually responsible;

- Participateas observers in all the public hearings that willbe held during this process and, especially, in the first public hearing totake place on 21 September 2011, to observe the guarantees of independence,impartiality and judicial transparency, respect for victim’s rights, theguarantees of the due process, and so that your presence will act as adeterrent of possible pressures and threats against those involved in theprocess;

- Callon the Guatemalan authorities to provide effective security assurances towitnesses, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, other judicial officers, and therelatives of the victims involved in the process;

- Promotea meeting with the Association for Justice and Reconciliation -AJR-in order to show your support for the efforts to combat impunity, and provideprotective measures, as set out in the guidelines for human rights defenders,to the surviving victims of genocide and their legal representatives ifrequested;

- Show that the fight against impunity by all available legal means is a keyelement in preventing the recurrence of serious human rights violations such asgenocide and torture, and thus it is important to strengthen the rule of lawand the promotion of present public safety;

- Urge the Guatemalan authorities to adoptadditional measures to combat impunity and prevention of genocide and crimesagainst humanity such as the ratificationand implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.


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