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Guatemala paramilitaries sentenced for raping Indigenous girls

The former members of the government-recruited patrols have been sentenced to 30 years for raping 36 Indigenous girls.

Guatemala’s highest courtroom has sentenced 5 former paramilitary troopers to 30 years in jail for raping 36 Indigenous girls in the course of the nation’s decades-long civil battle.

The assaults by the previous members of the so-called Civil Self-Defense Patrol (PAC), an array of armed teams recruited by Guatemala’s military, happened between 1981 and 1985 in and across the city of Rabinal, prosecutors stated on Monday.

The responsible verdict on costs of crimes in opposition to humanity capped a three-week trial that noticed survivors and family of the victims – members of the Indigenous Achi Mayan group – give graphic testimony detailing the abuses.

“The women were subjected to continuous rape and also to domestic slavery,” Gervi Sical, one of many judges, stated because the sentence was learn.

Guatemalan Achi Women, Victims Of Sexual Violence During The Internal Armed Conflict (1960-1996), React At The End Of The Trial Against Five Former Guatemalan Civil Patrol (Pac) Members, Outside The Justice Palace In Guatemala On January 24, 2022.Guatemalan Achi girls, victims of sexual violence throughout Guatemala’s civil battle, react on the finish of the trial in opposition to 5 former paramilitary troopers [File: Johan Ordonez/AFP]

“We the judges firmly believe the testimonies of the women who were sexually violated,” the choose stated.

Victims stated members of the paramilitary group had rounded up all the lads within the village and disappeared them. They then rounded up the ladies, tied them up and raped them.

And urinated on the victims in the course of the assault, the witnesses stated.

The 5 males charged included two brothers – Benvenuto and Bernardo Ruiz, aged 63 and 57 – and a trio of family – Damian, Gabriel and Francisco Cuxum, all of their 60s.

All of the accused heard the decision by way of a videoconference from jail.

Prior to the sentencing, among the victims, accompanied by activists, held a ceremony with flowers and candles in a plaza on the Torre de Tribunales, within the historic centre of Guatemala City.

“When I was 19 years old I was taken to the (military) detachment and was raped by soldiers, but those who are to blame are the patrolmen in my village,” Margarita Siana, 59, instructed the AFP information company.

Pedrina Lopez, one of many victims, stated they weren’t looking for revenge however relatively justice.

“We don’t want this to happen again,” she stated.

Relatives of former members of the paramilitary teams protested in one other a part of the judicial advanced, denouncing what they known as “false accusations” and demanding their freedom.

The Civil Self-Defense Patrols have been blamed for a number of atrocities dedicated throughout Guatemala’s civil battle, by which an estimated 200,000 individuals have been killed or disappeared.

In 1999, a UN-sponsored fee decided {that a} genocide predominantly focusing on Maya Indigenous teams, who have been accused of siding with teams combating the federal government, had been dedicated by Guatemala’s navy, whose officer corps had been educated by the United States.

A mass grave with the our bodies of greater than 3,000 individuals has since been found near Rabinal, whose inhabitants was significantly onerous hit in the course of the battle.

Following the decision, Lucia Xiloj, a lawyer for among the girls, instructed the AFP: “Once again it has been exposed that sexual violence during the internal armed conflict was a strategy implemented by (the Guatemalan state).”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala went on Twitter to say the sentence is a “landmark advance in the access to the rights to truth, justice and reparation for female victims of sexual violence during” the battle.

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