UN human rights chief concerned about annulment of guilty verdict for genocide in Guatemala

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Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office in Geneva

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has expressed concern about the right of victims of genocide to obtain remedies in Guatemala.

This follows the ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Central American country annulling the guilty verdict of Efrain Rios Montt, the former military leader convicted of genocide against the Ixil population.

He was sentenced to 80 years on 10 May for the crimes allegedly committed when he led the military government in the early 1980's during the civil war in Guatemala.

Rupert Colville is spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office in Geneva.

"On 10 May, the High Commissioner welcomed the sentence by the first instance court, and saluted the victims, relatives and survivors whose courage and perseverance made this possible against all odds, as well as the lawyers, prosecutors and judges who carried out their duties under exceptionally difficult circumstances in the face of serious threats and intimidation. The victims have waited three decades for justice for atrocities committed against the Ixil population, and it is unfortunate that a verdict of such importance has been annulled on procedural grounds." (30")

Rupert Colville says the UN Human Rights office hopes that at the end of the day, this extremely important trial will be decided on its merits.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'13"

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