Monday, March 18, 2013

As Rios Montt trial about to start: Uncovering the genocide in Guatemala

As the trial of EfraĆ­n Rios-Montt is set to start tomorrow, I'm posting a video of an interview with Fredy Peccerelli, a forensic anthropologist who has worked for the past 19 years with the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG) to identify the remains of the genocide's massacre victims buried in mass graves, as well as the individual remains of those forcibly disappeared and executed extrajudicially. He, members of the organization, and survivors of the armed internal conflict who have requested mass graves exhumed, have all received death threats in order to prevent this work from being done.

Peccerelli's work was instrumental in reuniting a father with the sole remaining son he didn't know had survived the Dos Erres massacre (where his wife and other eight children had been killed). You can read the fantastic ProPublica report about that amazing case here.

To read more about the important work the FAFG does, click here. There is also a NYT interview with Peccerelli from 2004 here.

The upcoming trial of Rios Montt has gotten a lot of non-mainstream press, but here is a NYT article (finally) about it, in advance of the trial. But, before we get too excited about how much things have changed, here is an article about human rights workers and journalists still being intimidated and targeted (in Spanish) and here is an article about declassified U.S. documents that indicated that we knew about and colluded with architects of the genocide.

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