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The Verdict that Rios Montt couldn’t refute
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The Verdict that Rios Montt couldn’t refute

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It was a damp, hot, almost suffocating courtroom the afternoon of the sentence. The accused Generals Efrain Rios Montt and Jose Mauricio Rodriguez were two diffused silhouettes among the hundreds of reporters and nearly thousand people who awaited to hear the verdict. For the first time in Latin American history, a former strongman was tried for genocide. Many were anxious and others worried that because of pending injunctions the trial would be suspended. But once the panel of three judges finally made their way into the courtroom, it was clear. There would be a verdict and nothing could stop it.
When he sat down, judges, lawyers, prosecutors and journalists all resembled children sitting on the floor waiting for him to speak as if it were story time. “I’m going to tell you a story,” Rios Montt began. From behind he resembled a grandfather about to speak with his grandchildren.
“It’s true, it’s true that we instilled doctrines. That is why the government instituted Guatemalaness as a concept…I didn’t want to take away the identity of the different Mayan groups but consolidate it so that there was infrastructure,” Rios Montt said.

Adapted by Romina Ruiz-Goiriena

Over 25 court days took place before getting to the final ...

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