May 11, 2013

Menendez Statement on Sentencing of Former Guatemalan Dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement in response to the sentencing of former Guatemalan dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt for genocide and crimes against humanity.

“Yesterday's verdict was a hard fought victory for human rights defenders in Guatemala who showed their resolute commitment to upholding truth, justice and the rule of law. This sentence is a marked achievement for victims of Guatemala’s civil war and a clear example that Guatemalans are able and willing to hold perpetrators of gross human rights violations accountable. The Guatemalan people demonstrated that they live by the inscription that I read every day when I walk by the Supreme Court of the United States: 'Equal Justice Under Law.' I commend them.”

Rios Montt was sentenced to 50 years in prison for genocide and received an additional 30-year sentence for crimes against humanity for his role in the massacre of 1,771 Ixil Mayans in the early 1980s.

Senator Menendez traveled to Guatemala May 2-3 and met with President Otto Perez Molina and other officials to discuss citizen security and the rule of law.


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