{"code":"26139","sect":"Central America","sect_slug":"central-america","hits":"934","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202204\/centroamerica\/26139","link_edit":"","name":"Trial for \u201cDeath Squad Dossier\u201d Ties Guatemalan Wartime Atrocities to Current Criminal Networks","slug":"trial-for-ldquo-death-squad-dossier-rdquo-ties-guatemalan-wartime-atrocities-to-current-criminal-networks","info":"","mtag":"Impunity","noun":{"html":"Jo-Marie Burt y Paulo Estrada","data":{"jo-marie-burt":{"sort":"","slug":"jo-marie-burt","path":"jo_marie_burt","name":"Jo-Marie Burt","edge":"0","init":"0"},"paulo-estrada":{"sort":"","slug":"paulo-estrada","path":"paulo_estrada","name":"Paulo Estrada","edge":"1","init":"0"}}},"view":"934","pict":{"cms-image-000037425-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"37425","name":"cms-image-000037425.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037425.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037425.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037425-jpg","text":"<p>Demonstrators left a tribute to victims outside of the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021 during a hearing for the Diario Militar case, also known as the \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EDemonstrators left a tribute to victims outside of the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021 during a hearing for the Diario Militar case, also known as the \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000037426-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"37426","name":"cms-image-000037426.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037426.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037426.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037426-jpg","text":"<p>Demonstrators left a tribute to victims outside of the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021 during a hearing for the Diario Militar case, also known as the \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EDemonstrators left a tribute to victims outside of the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021 during a hearing for the Diario Militar case, also known as the \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000037427-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"37427","name":"cms-image-000037427.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037427.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037427.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037427-jpg","text":"<p>A Guatemalan High-Risk Tribunal held a pre-trial hearing on June 7, 2021 on charges against more than a dozen retired military and police officials for the alleged torture, forced disappearance, and murder of at least 195 suspected political dissidents named in a secret military hit-list between 1983 and 1985. The case is named after the Diario Militar, or \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EA Guatemalan High-Risk Tribunal held a pre-trial hearing on June 7, 2021 on charges against more than a dozen retired military and police officials for the alleged torture, forced disappearance, and murder of at least 195 suspected political dissidents named in a secret military hit-list between 1983 and 1985. The case is named after the Diario Militar, or \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000037428-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"37428","name":"cms-image-000037428.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037428.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037428.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037428-jpg","text":"<p>Marco Antonio Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena in civilian attire alongside the general and de facto President Humberto Mej\u00eda V\u00edctores, who took power in 1983 in a military coup against Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt. Prosecutors say the crimes named in the Diario Militar case were carried out by the Guatemalan military and police from 1983 to 1985, under the government of Mej\u00eda V\u00edctores. Photo courtesy of Verdad y Justicia Guatemala.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EMarco Antonio Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena in civilian attire alongside the general and de facto President Humberto Mej\u00eda V\u00edctores, who took power in 1983 in a military coup against Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt. Prosecutors say the crimes named in the Diario Militar case were carried out by the Guatemalan military and police from 1983 to 1985, under the government of Mej\u00eda V\u00edctores. Photo courtesy of Verdad y Justicia Guatemala.\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":37426,"date":{"live":"2022\/04\/22"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2022","data_post_dateLive_MM":"04","data_post_dateLive_DD":"22","text":"\u003Cp id=\"docs-internal-guid-e7e6ac21-7fff-ba31-21d8-69b2ae112d98\" dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMarco Antonio Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena covers his face, irritated that courtroom photographers want to take his picture. At 79, the retired army general and one-time minister of defense looks frail in his hospital gown and wheelchair. His lawyer says he has cancer.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EProsecutors say that between 1983 and 1985, Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena was chief of an intelligence and operational unit of the Presidential General Staff (EMP) known as the Archivo. The mere name Archivo inspires terror among Guatemalans, bringing to mind clandestine intelligence operations against political dissidents who were kidnapped from their homes, their places of work, or the streets, brought to secret detention centers where they were interrogated and tortured, and then either executed or forcibly disappeared.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAccording to the Commission for Historical Clarification, a U.N.-sponsored truth commission created in the aftermath of Guatemala's 36-year internal armed conflict (1960-1996), 45,000 were forcibly disappeared during the war, mostly at the hands of the army. A total of 200,000 people were killed and another million were forcibly displaced in a country that in 1985 had eight million residents.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe case against Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena and more than a dozen other retired military and police officials is based on a military intelligence document known as the Military Diary, or the \u201cDeath Squad Dossier.\u201d The document, which was leaked to the National Security Archive and made public in 1999, registers surveillance operations that led to the illegal arrest, torture, extrajudicial execution, and forced disappearance of 195 political dissidents during the de facto government of general \u00d3scar Humberto Mej\u00eda V\u00edctores (1983-1986).\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=2000&ImageId=37427\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"A Guatemalan High-Risk Tribunal held a pre-trial hearing on June 7, 2021 on charges against more than a dozen retired military and police officials for the alleged torture, forced disappearance, and murder of at least 195 suspected political dissidents named in a secret military hit-list between 1983 and 1985. The case is named after the Diario Militar, or \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EA Guatemalan High-Risk Tribunal held a pre-trial hearing on June 7, 2021 on charges against more than a dozen retired military and police officials for the alleged torture, forced disappearance, and murder of at least 195 suspected political dissidents named in a secret military hit-list between 1983 and 1985. The case is named after the Diario Militar, or \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMej\u00eda V\u00edctores had come to power in a palace coup against the infamous dictator Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt (1982-1983), under whom he served as Minister of Defense. He continued the repressive policies launched under R\u00edos Montt and previous military governments, now focusing especially on political leaders in Guatemala City and other urban centers.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ETwo-Hundred Names\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe document registers the names of 195 dissidents, along with their photographs and other information, including their political affiliation, along with brief details about their fate. In some entries, note indicate that the individuals were killed or disappeared: \u201cse fue\u201d (\u201che or she is gone\u201d) or \u201cse lo llev\u00f3 Pancho\u201d (\u201cPancho took him or her away\u201d). In others, the number \u201c300\u201d appears, a code signifying that the victim was killed, along with the date of their death.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAt least 15 of the victims listed in the Military Diary were proven to have been killed, while 131 were forcibly disappeared. To date, only eight have been located and identified, six of them in a single mass grave, with signs of having been tortured and extrajudicially executed, at a military detachment in Chimaltenango. The charges against Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena include 14 counts of forced disappearance, three counts of homicide, one attempted homicide, and 21 counts of crimes against humanity.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAt the time of his arrest last May, Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena was vice president of the Association of Military Veterans of Guatemala (Avemilgua), which was founded in 1995 by powerful retired senior military officials, rankled at the idea of peace accords with a guerrilla movement they considered defeated.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMany of these officials, including Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena, have been linked to the Cofrad\u00eda, or Brotherhood, a network of retired military intelligence officials connected by their wartime actions who used their influence in postwar Guatemala to develop sophisticated structures known as \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/insightcrime.org\/guatemala-organized-crime-news\/ciacs\/\"\u003ECIACS\u003C\/a\u003E (illegal clandestine security apparatuses) dedicated to illicit activities such as drug trafficking and money laundering.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAvemilgua wields significant influence in postwar Guatemala. In the immediate postwar years, its members held important positions of power, often behind the scenes, to make sure that the interests of its members \u2014and, especially, their impunity\u2014 were guaranteed. The organization \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ijmonitor.org\/2020\/01\/the-future-of-accountability-efforts-in-guatemala-in-the-balance-as-new-hard-line-government-takes-office\/\"\u003Elobbied\u003C\/a\u003E consistently against the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which had made important strides in combating illegal structures and organized crime networks, finally achieving its goal of having CICIG removed from Guatemala permanently in 2019.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EWhen government prosecutors began to aggressively pursue criminal prosecutions against military officials accused of wartime atrocities, Avemilgua went into high gear. During the 2013 genocide trial against R\u00edos Montt \u2014the first and only time a former head of state has been prosecuted for war crimes in Guatemala\u2014 it launched a multifaceted campaign to \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ijmonitor.org\/2020\/01\/the-future-of-accountability-efforts-in-guatemala-in-the-balance-as-new-hard-line-government-takes-office\/\"\u003Ediscredit\u003C\/a\u003E those involved in the case, from Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz to the U.S. Ambassador, Arnold Chac\u00f3n. The smear campaign continued against Chac\u00f3n\u2019s successor, Todd Robinson, a strong supporter of anti-impunity efforts, and who is now assistant Secretary of State for the bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn 2019, Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena took the lead in \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.plazapublica.com.gt\/content\/quienes-se-benefician-con-la-amnistia\"\u003Elobbying\u003C\/a\u003E Congress to revise current legislation so that officials convicted of human rights crimes would go free and ban similar prosecutions in the future.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=2000&ImageId=37425\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Demonstrators left a tribute to victims outside of the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021 during a hearing for the Diario Militar case, also known as the \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EDemonstrators left a tribute to victims outside of the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021 during a hearing for the Diario Militar case, also known as the \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EToday, Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena\u2019s fate, along with that of eight other former military and police officials, is in the hands of Judge Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez of High Risk Court \u201cB.\u201d The pretrial judge in the case, G\u00e1lvez is currently reviewing the evidence brought by the plaintiffs to determine whether it is sufficient to send the former officials to trial. The defense sought to remove G\u00e1lvez from the case, filing a recusal motion against him last year, but the Supreme Court rejected the request.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt\u2019s no surprise that they wanted G\u00e1lvez out. Known for his unflinching independence, G\u00e1lvez has ordered some of Guatemala\u2019s most powerful men to trial, including former dictator Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt, for genocide, and retired general and former president Otto P\u00e9rez Molina for customs fraud.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EG\u00e1lvez is expected to deliver his ruling in early-to-mid May. Separate evidentiary phase hearings will be held for four other officials; four others wanted in the case remain at large.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EArrests and Blowback\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EGiven the near-total impunity in Guatemala at the time the \u201cDeath Squad Dossier\u201d became public, the families of the victims brought the case to the Inter-American Court for Human Rights. In 2012, the Court \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.corteidh.or.cr\/CF\/jurisprudencia2\/ficha_tecnica.cfm?nId_Ficha=231\"\u003Eruled\u003C\/a\u003E that the Guatemalan State was responsible for the crimes registered in the Military Diary and ordered it to investigate, prosecute, and punish the individuals responsible for the deaths, forced disappearances, and other crimes registered in the document, among other measures.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThough the ruling coincided with the \u201cjustice spring\u201d underway in Guatemala under the leadership of Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz (2010-2014), there were no formal arrests in the case until 2021: On May 27, 11 retired military and police officials were apprehended.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn the first day of the arraignment hearings, retired army colonel Jacobo Esdras Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez, one of seven men who had evaded arrest in May, showed up in the courtroom and turned himself in. At 68, Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez is a tall, slightly hefty figure. He takes prolific notes during the hearings. With his owl-like glasses and button-down beige cardigan sweater, he could easily be mistaken for a university professor. His wife, a diminutive, unassuming woman, sits next to or near him during the hearings. During recesses, she eats lunch and talks animatedly with him, sometimes sneaking furtive hugs as if they were the only people in the room. His son also attends the hearings, though not as religiously as his wife.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAt the time of the crimes registered in the Military Diary, Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez was the assistant chief of the special forces (Kaibil) training and special operations course. Prosecutors say that Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez coordinated and operated with the counterintelligence unit of the Army Intelligence Directorate (D-2). They also allege that he was one of the torturers.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOne of the few to survive the Archivo and live to tell about it is Alvaro Ren\u00e9 Sosa Ramos. Listed as entry number 87 in the Military Diary, Sosa Ramos managed to escape from his captors, after enduring savage physical and psychological torture, and found refuge in the Belgian Embassy. The ambassador took him to a hospital to be treated for a bullet wound and he later left the country. Sosa Ramos is one of the prosecution\u2019s star witnesses. He not only survived; he has also reportedly identified Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez as one of the Kaibiles who captured him and submitted him to excruciating forms of torture.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ELike Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena, Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez is accused of forming part of a clandestine structure that illegally detained, tortured, executed or forcibly disappeared political dissidents. He faces three counts of forced disappearance, one homicide, one attempted homicide, and ten counts of crimes against humanity.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ES\u00e1lan S\u00e1nchez\u2019s name also appears in connection with several of the criminal networks formed by military intelligence officials who became involved in illicit criminal activities in postwar Guatemala. The Washington Office on Latin America \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.wola.org\/analysis\/hidden-powers-in-post-conflict-guatemala\/\"\u003Ereports\u003C\/a\u003E that Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez has been linked to the Moreno organized crime network, the \u201cSalvavidas\u201d group, and the Cofrad\u00eda. He is reportedly close to retired army general, Luis Francisco Ortega Menaldo, who from 1991 to 1993 was head of the Presidential General Staff (EMP) and who is rumored to be among one of Guatemala\u2019s \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/elperiodico.com.gt\/nacionales\/2016\/01\/07\/callejasel-capo-de-capos\/\"\u003Emost powerful men\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAccording to WOLA, at the insistence of the U.S. government, Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez was forced to resign from the army in the late 1990s due to his alleged ties to drug trafficking. Yet, he remained a powerful player, especially after the election of Alfonso Portillo, who ascended to the presidency in 2000 with the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), the party of R\u00edos Montt. Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez and Ortega Menaldo were among Portillo\u2019s closest advisors. Years later, in the context of its investigations into a range of illicit networks, the CICIG went after S\u00e1lan S\u00e1nchez for embezzling 120 million quetzales (US$16 million) from the Ministry of Defense during the Portillo government, resulting in his \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.prensalibre.com\/guatemala\/justicia\/csj-deja-firme-pena-contra-salan-y-rojas\/\"\u003Econviction\u003C\/a\u003E in 2014. Portillo was extradited to the United States for money laundering and served a year and a half in prison. \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/insightcrime.org\/guatemala-organized-crime-news\/ciacs\/\"\u003EOrtega Menaldo\u003C\/a\u003E has never been tried.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EHuman rights groups have \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.wola.org\/es\/analisis\/poderes-ocultos-en-la-guatemala-pos-conflicto\/\"\u003Eimplicated\u003C\/a\u003E Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez in other cases of human rights violations, including the kidnapping and killing of several students from the public San Carlos University in 1989 and the murder of U.S. citizen Michael Devine in 1990.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EA week after the arrests in the Military Diary case, members of Valor \u2014the party of Zury R\u00edos, Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt daughter\u2014 presented \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/egarciaelp\/status\/1402345197015609351?s=12\"\u003Ea new bill\u003C\/a\u003E to Congress that seeks the extinction of all criminal responsibility for any crimes committed during the internal armed conflict. If this bill were to become law, the Military Diary case would be shuttered.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThere has been blowback since the May 2021 arrests. It is widely believed that the head of the Human Rights Prosecutor\u2019s Office, Hilda Pineda, was removed and transferred to another unit in response to her investigation of this case. The plaintiffs, prosecutors and the judge in the case reported being followed and receiving intimidating communications during the arraignment proceedings last year.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the present context of sustained attacks on judicial independence and threats against human rights defenders from the parallel networks that have harbored men like Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena and Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez, the future of the Military Diary case remains uncertain. But after waiting nearly four decades for their day in court, the families of the victims remain steadfast in their demands for truth and justice.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cem\u003E*Jo-Marie Burt\u00a0teaches at George Mason University and is a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). She has written extensively about political violence, human rights and transitional justice in Latin America.\u003C\/em\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cem\u003EPaulo Estrada investigates wartime human rights violations and is a member of Guatemalan Families of the Detained and Disappeared (FAMDEGUA). Burt and Estrada are founders and co-directors of Verdad y Justicia en Guatemala, which monitors and reports on war crimes prosecutions in Guatemala. They are on Twitter\u00a0\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/VerdadJusticiaG\"\[email protected]\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/em\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"}