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Saturday, November 26, 2022

War crimes judge attacked in Guatemala

GUATEMALA CITY ( Associated Press) — Guatemalan Judge Miguel ngel Gálvez is recognized for keeping military personnel accused of war crimes or being investigated for corruption at the docks of businessmen, officials and judges.

Galvez sits down and explains at length the hearing where he attends to the reasons for his decisions, always telling the accused or accusers that no matter how long it takes him to explain, he wants them to understand that he has been accused of a crime or a crime. Why are others being accused?

But now Galvez faces four requests to withdraw his immunity — one is already being processed — by his opponents, according to the magistrate, in an effort to kick him out of the Central American country’s justice system. .

The judge told The Associated Press on Tuesday that it would now be his turn to explain his decisions to Judge Zonia Santizo, who is expected to investigate a complaint already being processed against him by the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ). appointed and decide whether action is being taken against them. Whether immunity has been withdrawn or not.

“It’s hard to divide between work and defending yourself,” Judge says, adding that the “criminalization” part of his job that affects him is the time he needs to prepare his defense and resources. have to spend.

“The complaint is political and bogus,” he said.

The judge was condemned by Fundación Contra el Terrismo (FCT) President Ricardo Rafael Mendez Ruiz for committing acts of violence, harassment and intimidation by the US State Department in 2021 to obstruct criminal proceedings against ex-servicemen. Approved for was a far-flung worker. Against investigators of corruption cases.

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Mendez accused the judge of delaying in enforcing pre-trial detention for those accused of the crimes, and used the state’s so-called co-option to argue that the judge would have exceeded the prison terms of the two defendants. . Mendez is not part of that process.

The judge explains that the process was huge, more than 50 people were involved, that because of the numbers, the established deadline could not be met and every effort was made humanely, he sought support from the CSJ and requested Made changes to the law so that the time limit can be extended in cases of plurality of people.

He assured that he would also meet a magistrate of the CSJ to propose changes to the law, which he had taken up before the plenary session of that body, but the proposals were turned down.

In the State’s Coptation case, former President Otto Pérez Molina and several former officials of his government cabinet have been accused of being part of a structure co-opted government institutions with which public works were allegedly awarded. Received bribes that they later money-laundered to finance their political party.

Galvez put on the bench former dictator José Efrain Ríos Montt, who was tried for genocide for the deaths of 1,771 Ixil indigenous people during internal armed conflict in the country between 1960-1996 and later sentenced to 80 years in prison. was heard. Subsequently, the Constitutional Court overturned the sentence and ordered a new trial. The former dictator died without trial in 2018.

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The judge also prosecuted General Perez Molina, who had to resign from the presidency of Guatemala in 2015 on charges of corruption.

But human rights activists believe that the case in which the judge was avenged, known as the “Dario Militar”, is one of the most symbolic cases of the civil war in Guatemala. It is a report documenting the torture, forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions of 183 people during the 1980s by former members of the armed forces.

In early June, Galvez sent ten former police and military personnel to trial, which investigated the deaths, torture, forced disappearances and executions of 21 of the 183 people who suffered these abuses.

Several organizations have expressed their concern about Judge Galvez’s case and requested action to prevent retaliation for his anti-corruption decisions and crimes against humanity.

On Monday, Cardinal lvaro Ramazzini showed his support for Galávez, arguing that what is happening to the judge causes enormous distrust in the administration of justice. “Because if they are touching honorable people like Judge Miguel ngel Galvez with a service history of more than 23 years, what can they not do to the common citizen,” he said.

During the government of Alejandro Giammattei, more than 20 prosecutors and judges have left the country and gone into self-exile, mostly in the United States, alleging harassment for their work.

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