Transitional Justice in Guatemala

Exhuming Mass Graves

In Guatemala, the Center for Justice and Accountability has partnered closely with the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG) in the investigation and exhumations of mass graves associated with the genocide of the Mayan-Ixil community. CJA has developed close relationships with the victims and survivors of the massacre, connecting the evidence with the potential plaintiffs.

In 1982, former President General Efraín Ríos Montt launched a “scorched earth” operation against the indigenous Maya population The army and its paramilitary units – including civilian patrols of forcibly conscripted local men – systematically attacked 626 villages. The inhabitants were raped, tortured and murdered. CJA has been involved in aggregating evidence of these mass crimes.

CJA helped provide evidence in the genocide trial against Montt, who became the first head of state to be convicted of genocide in his home country. An appeals court has since overturned the conviction, and the case is restarting.