GUATEMALA CITY – A court in Guatemala acquitted on Wednesday former military intelligence chief Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity over the massacre of members of the indigenous Ixil people.
In a divided 2-1 majority verdict, the court said the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against the retired general, who was Director of Military Intelligence between 1982-1983 under the government of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt.
Presiding Judge Maria Eugenia Castellanos and Judge Jaime Gonzalez concluded that there was no evidence that the defendant had issued orders or participated in massacres in 50 villages of the Ixil Triangle, in which 1,771 members of that ethnic group were killed.
Judge Sara Yoc, however, ruled that Rodriguez, as head of military intelligence, was responsible for the crimes.
The court also unanimously ruled that genocide and crimes against humanity were committed against the Ixil people by the army in the northern department of Quiche between 1982-1983, during the rule of de facto President Montt, who died in April this year.