Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wheels of Justice Slow, But Inevitable

     He presided over the deaths of thousands of unarmed Maya, but ten years ago I wrote, "It is far from certain whether Rios Montt will ever face charges in court." U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan said the Guatemalan dictator got "a bum rap," honoring him as an ally.  Gen. Efrain Rios Montt seemed untouchable.

Exhumation. Xococ. A massacre during the rule of Rios Montt.
Photo: Mary Jo McConahay

This morning I am watching live streaming* from a Guatemala City courtroom where a prosecutor formally reads an astounding litany of villages and Maya names, citing the way each person lost his or her life, "by firearm," "by explosion," and more. Rios Montt is on trial. 

Rios Montt's predecessor Romeo Lucas Garcia, who also presided over massacres, died in 2006.  Two weeks ago, when Rios left his seat in Congress, he lost immunity against prosecution.  

This is how justice begins, with courage and patience.  Ten years back: