In late January of this year, a Guatemalan judge ordered General Efrain Rios Montt to stand trail on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. This is the first time a former head of state has faced such charges in their own country. Rios Montt, who was president of Guatemala from 1982 to 1883 after taking power in a millitary coup, headed the country during one of the bloodiest periods in its 36-year civil war. It is estimated that nearly half of the 200,000 Guatemalans killed by their government died between 1978 and 1984, many of them during Rios Montt's 17-month presidency. The vast majority of those killed during the war were indigenous Maya. To examine the background and significance of the trial, the Center for Latin American Studies has brought together the University's foremost experts on recent Guatemalan history for a roundtable discussion.
Sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies, University of Arizona