“We went to the mountains because we didn’t have a house, we didn’t have anywhere to live. The food ran out- we didn’t have any corn. We just ate leaves.”- Doña Juana, genocide survivor from Chajul, Quiche. She spent seven years in the mountains.
The genocide trial against former de facto president Efrain Rios Montt and his director of military intelligence Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez continued on January 19th. Despite the conviction of the former president May 2013, the sentence was overturned shortly after forcing the prosecution to begin the process once again. Therefore, survivors of the genocide against the Ixil Mayan people are now testifying for the second time.
Since October, the hearings before a three judge panel take place on Fridays – in the morning, with the witnesses giving testimony against Rios Montt in a closed-court setting due to his declining health. Those same witnesses give their same testimony again in the afternoon against Rodriguez Sanchez in public court.
Survivors say they are committed to seeing this case through once again. BTS staff will continue to attend the hearings and send updates.