Former Guatemala dictator faces war crimes charges

By REUTERS
January 27, 2012 06:56

 
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GUATEMALA CITY - Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt will face trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity as the Central American nation seeks to close files on a brutal 36-year civil war.

A judge found sufficient evidence that linked Rios Montt, who ruled during a particularly bloody period in 1982 and 1983, to the killing of more than 1,700 indigenous people in one counterinsurgency effort.

"I believe that there is enough evidence in these charges," said Judge Carol Flores, who agreed with prosecutors that Rios Montt, as head of the government, should answer for brutality under his rule.

Prosecutors allege that Rios Montt, who ruled as commander-in-chief for 17 months, turned a blind eye as soldiers used rape, torture and arson to rid Guatemala of leftist insurgents.

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