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News > Guatemala

Guatemala: Former Military Arrested for Dictatorship-Era Crimes

  • A woman marches on the 'Dignity of the Victims and Justice' day, Guatemala, Feb.25, 2021.

    A woman marches on the 'Dignity of the Victims and Justice' day, Guatemala, Feb.25, 2021. | Photo: EFE

Published 28 May 2021

They were charged with enforced disappearance and other criminal charges following the declassification of a U.S. intelligence report.

On Thursday, the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor's Office arrested 11 retired military officials for allegedly committing crimes against humanity against political opponents during the country's dictatorship rule (1982-1985).


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The National Civil Police (PNC) carried out 17 raids to enforce the arrest warrants, which included that of retired General Marco Gonzalez, who headed the clandestine intelligence network known as "The Archive." 

Evidence against the defendants is connected to the "Death's Dossier" military intelligence report declassified by the United States in 1999. 

Judge Miguel Galvez explained they would face trials on murder, attempted murder, and forced disappearance counts.

Besides Gonzalez, the PNC also arrested Technical Investigations Department ex-director Gustavo Blanco who commanded police counterinsurgency operations and the Police Special Operations Brigade chief Juan Cifuentes.

The "Death's Dossier" contains 73 sheets distributed in six sections explaining abductions, intelligence monitoring, and raids in activists' houses and human rights organizations. 

Between 1960 and 1996, Guatemala went through a civil war in which state terrorism left 200,000 people dead, and 45,000 citizens missing. Most of the victims of the counterinsurgency actions were Indigenous people.

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