The Ongoing Prosecution of War Criminals in Guatemala

Just one week after a Guatemalan court sentenced Pedro Pimentel to 6,060 years in prison for his role in the Dos Erres massacre that murdered 201 Guatemalan civilians, another five members of right-wing paramilitary group Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil (Civil Self-Defense Patrols, PAC) were sentenced to 7,710 years in prison for their roles in the murder of 256 civilians, mostly Maya women and children, at Plan de Sanchez in July 1982. The judge sentenced each of the five men who led military forces to the village and who participated in the massacre to 30 years in prison for each of the 256 cases of murder, as well as 30 years for human rights abuses, though, as was the case with Pimentel, the men will serve a maximum of 50 years in prison, in accordance with Guatemalan law. The PAC formed in 1981, during the rule of General Romeo Lucas García and continued operating as part of the counterinsurgency and intelligence forces of General Efraín Ríos Montt, who is currently facing his own trial for genocide and human rights violations for the murders and other crimes committed during his presidency of 1982-1983. Although the PAC was supposed to disband as part of the 1996 peace treaty accords, its right-wing paramilitaries continued to be connected to violent acts in Guatemala into the 2000s.


About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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