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Fri Jan 27, 2012, 04:28 AM

Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt faces genocide trial [View all]

(Reuters) Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt will face trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity as the Central American nation seeks to put a brutal 36-year civil war behind it.

A judge found sufficient evidence that linked Rios Montt, who ruled during a particularly bloody period in 1982-83, to the killing of more than 1,700 indigenous people in a crackdown on insurgents.

"I believe that there is enough evidence in these charges," said Judge Carol Flores, who agreed with prosecutors that Rios Montt 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.

full: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/27/guatemala-rios-montt-genocide-trial

According to this timeline by PBS for a Frontline/World documentary "Guatemala: The Secret Files":

Despite the confirmation of massacres in Guatemalan villages across the country by anti-guerilla forces, in early 1983, a newly elected President Ronald Reagan overturned the arms embargo imposed on Guatemala by Carter in 1980. Reagan claimed Guatemala’s human rights conditions were improving, and he authorized the sale of military hardware, including weapons and vehicles, to the country’s government. Meanwhile, a then-secret 1983 CIA cable noted a rise in "suspect right-wing violence" and an increasing number of bodies "appearing in ditches and gullies."

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