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Former Guatemala dictator denied amnesty

Guatemalan Judge Miguel Angel Galvez denied former dictator Efrain Rois Montt's amnesty claim Thursday. Rios Montt is being charged for crimes committed throughout the country's 36-year civil war [BBC timeline], which officially ended in 1996. The case involves at least 1,771 deaths and 1,400 human rights violations [Global Security backgrounder]. The ruling means the trial against Rios Montt will continue [Prensa Libre report, in Spanish] in an attempt to bring justice to the families of the victims. Revoking Rios Montt's amnesty is another step towards meeting conditions set by the US in order to receive military aid.

Rios Montt's trial was ordered to continue in January [JURIST report]. The Guatemalan civil war resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, mostly among Guatemala's large indigenous Mayan population. According to a UN report [text, in Spanish] released in 1999, the military was responsible for 95 percent of those deaths. In response to these violations, the Guatemalan government founded the National Compensation Program (PNR) in 2003 to deal with claims by civilians affected by the civil war. The PNR, after setting up its administrative structure, has begun to use its $40 million budget to work through a backlog of more than 98,000 civilian complaints. Four former soldiers and two former police officers [JURIST reports] have already been convicted in relation to these crime.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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