Former Generals Benedicto Lucas (R) and Manuel Callejas (C).
(Photo: Twitter/ @VerdadJusticiaG)
Generals Lucas and Callejas Face Trial for Killing 1,700 Ixil Mayans
GUATEMALA (August 31, 2021) — On Monday, after nearly two years of investigations, Guatemalan High-Risk Court Judge Miguel Galvez decided to send to trial former Guatemalan generals Benedicto Lucas and Manuel Callejas for the massacre and violation of the human rights of over 1,700 Ixil Mayan Indigenous people between 1978 and 1982, during the civil war.
“We celebrate Galvez’s resolution, which approaches the horizon of memory and struggle for the dignity of the victims,” Human Rights Office of the Archdiocese of Santiago de Guatemala (ODHAG) stated as a complementary prosecutor in the case, which comprises forced displacement, rape, torture, and murder of the Indigenous peoples.
To support this resolution, the Court used about 200 testimonies, 148 forensic anthropology expert’s reports, 12 scientific expert’s reports, and 70 military, historical, and newspaper documents, which ODHAG presented to prove the implication of the ex-generals in such crimes.
ODHAG also urged Galvez to reject the impunity resolutions presented by Lucas and Callejas’ lawyers to obtain amnesty for their clients. “The Court must act with the highest standards of impartiality to respond to the rights of the victims and guarantee justice throughout the process,” it affirmed.
During the administration of his brother Fernando Lucas (1978-1982), Gen. Lucas carried out “sweep” intelligence military operations against Indigenous citizens who were falsely branded as “State enemies.”
The military murdered 12,400 people from the Ixil Maya community located in the Santa Maria Nebaj, San Gaspar Chajul, and San Juan Cotzal municipalities.
In May 2018, Lucas and Callejas were condemned to 30 years in prison due to their involvement in the rape of 19-year-old woman Emma Molina and the forced disappearance of her brother in 1981.
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