الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

Guatemalan general's trial delayed

Former Guatemalan de facto President (1982-1983), retired General Jose Efrain Rios Montt, gestures during his trial on charges of genocide during his regime, in Guatemala City on April 30, 2013.

Two years ago at his trial on genocide charges, General Jose Efrain Rios Montt appeared healthy and strong.

.A court in Guatemala city hearing the retrial of former General Efrain Rios Montt has accepted he should be examined at a mental health hospital.

The court was responding to allegations by the defence that the 89-year-old general was senile and unable to understand the charges against him.

He was found guilty two years ago of genocide and human rights abuses against indigenous people in the 1980s.

But his sentence was overturned and a retrial ordered.

General Rios Montt has been accused of responsibility for the deaths of thousands of people from Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan community during his rule in the early 1980s.

But he had his 80-year sentence overturned after his lawyers argued there had been errors of process.

The retrial has been delayed for months mostly due to arguments set out by General Rios Montt’s legal team. It had been due to take place in January.

This time, the court has ordered that he should be medically assessed at the hospital from Saturday until 3 August when another trial date will be set.

The court had already permitted the general to follow court proceedings from home via a video link because it was alleged he was too ill to leave his bed.

Last week, the Forensic Institute of Guatemala declared General Rios Montt “mentally incompetent” to face the trial but the court rejected the report.

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