Friday, August 12, 2011

Four Detained in Rabinal for the Massacre of 268 campesinos


On Wednesday night and yesterday afternoon, security forces captured three members of the defunct Civil Defense Patrols implicated in the massacre of 268 peasants in the community of Plan de Sanchez in Rabinal, Baja Verapaz, on July 18, 1982.

BY CARLOS GRAVE, Baja Verapaz

The detained were identified as ex-military commissioner Lucas Tecu, 56 years old, and Civil Defense Patrollers, Mario Julian Acoj, 54; Eusebio Grave Galeano, 56; and Santos Rosales Garcia, 70.

The first two were detained last Wednesday at the entrance of the community of Pacux, near zone 3 of Rabinal, and Grave Galeano y Rosales Garcia were apprehended in the community of Conculito in the same municipality.

To The Preventative Jail

They were all sent to the Preventative Jail in zone 18 of Guatemala City and today they will give their first declaration in court.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office has accused them of assassination and crimes against humanity. These are the first detentions for this massacre.

The Facts

The massacre occurred during the de facto regime of General Jose Efrain Rio Montt (1982-1983). The criminal process was slowed for several years given the amnesty that the military of the time enjoyed.

The survivors submitted a petition to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in 1996, which in 2004 ordered monetary and non-monetary compensation and symbolic compensation to families of the victims.

The military’s harassment of the community began at the beginning of July 1982, when a helicopter flew over the community and fired nearby, said Maria Lajuj, a survivor of the massacre.

In the early morning of July 18 of that year, the army fired bombs at the community from the military base which was located near the soccer field in Rabinal.

Since it was a market day, there were people traveling towards the town of Rabinal; the explosions alerted community members and they took refuge in the ravines, but the soldiers returned in the afternoon and executed them.