New judge to preside over trial of Guatemala ex-dictator

[JURIST] The Guatemalan Constitutional Court [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday ordered Judge Jasmine Barrios to annul the case of former Guatemalan dictator General Efrain Rios Montt [JURIST news archive] over the genocide of Mayan Indians [Economist report]. The Constitutional Court also ordered the case sent back [Miami Herald report] to Judge Carol Patricia Flores, who now has 24 to 48 hours to resolve the limited and technical question of whether defense evidence was incorporated properly and how to incorporate it. It is unclear whether the decision to send the case back to Flores will cause the trial to revert to an earlier point.

Rios Montt's trial came to a halt [JURIST report] last week after Flores ruled all actions taken on Rios Montt's case since she was recused in November 2011 are invalid. Last month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights lauded Guatemala [JURIST report] for beginning the trial. Rios Montt has been ordered to stand trial multiple times for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity, and this trial started on March 19. In January a Guatemalan judge ordered [JURIST report] Rios Montt to stand trial. Rios Montt was protected [JURIST report] from prosecution until last January because he was serving as a member of congress, an immunity that had been lifted due to his departure from the legislature.

 

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