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Ecuador begins crimes against humanity trial

A court in Ecuador on Tuesday began the country's first trial for crimes against humanity. Attorney General Galo Chiriboga charged [El Comercio report, in Spanish] nine army officers and a police general with the torture, sexual violence and forced disappearance of three opponents of the government in 1985. The prosecution, led by the Truth Commission [USIP profile], denounced the crimes, which included particularly sadistic forms of torture. The 10 defendants did not have to make an appearance at the trial, but Chiriboga requested that their assets be frozen and that they be put on house arrest. Defense lawyers, who will now have 90 days to investigate the events, asked the prosecutor to clarify the charges against the 10 accused soldiers.

In May Guatemala became the first country to prosecute a head of state for genocide in a national court while trying [JURIST report] ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt for the genocide, torture and rape of 1,771 indigenous Mayans during his 1982-83 rule. Later that month the Guatemalan Constitutional Court voided [JURIST report] Rios Montt's conviction. The government of Ecuador set up [JURIST report] the Truth Commission in 2007 to investigate human rights abuses perpetrated between 1984 and 1988, during the presidency of Leon Febres Cordero. In 2010 the Commission released a report [CJA report] focusing on the four year period between 1984 and 1988, finding 165 instances of torture, 68 executions, 17 disappearances and 269 arbitrary detention.

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