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Kenneth David

GENERAL RIOS MONTT, GUILTY!

After the conviction of former Strong Man General Efrain Rios Montt at the age of 86 , for Genocide and crimes against humanity, Im sure some people pity the old man. However, one must also consider the atrocities this former dictator has committed in the past. Apparently General Montt is the first head of state to be convicted of Genocide by a National Tribunal. Hes been sentenced to prison for 80 years for the crimes of Genocide and against humanity committed by him and his army in the early eighties. The former dictator claims he committed no such crimes, that he did not authorize, propose, or sign off on any orders to kill the indigenous Mayan Ixils. Judge Barrios and her fellow justices thought otherwise. Per the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the London Agreement as to Crimes Against Humanity, it defines what acts are considered Genocide and Crimes against humanity respectively. What Gen. Montt and his army committed three decades ago fall within the definitions from both documents. The Convention defines Genocide to be the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: Killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,XXXXX Gen. Montts claim of innocence is very hard to swallow, since he was the Commander in Chief of the military forces during these raids and missions against the so called rebels or enemies of the state. These are the same military forces who committed these crimes of Genocide. Under the concept of Command Responsibility Gen. Montt i s primarily and directly responsible for the acts of his military. Like Radislav Krstic and although not a supporter of the plan to execute the Bosnian Muslims, his participation in the Genocide against Bosnian Muslims was due to him allowing his main staff to call on the Drina Corps which he commanded, Gen. Montt was also guilty of Genocide. Both these men of power had the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. In other cases of Genocide decided by the ICJ, as in the case of Bosnia and Herzergovina v. Serbia and Montenegro the Genocide Convention was cited for its definition of genocide. Also, in the cases of Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia there was the International Tribunal to try these cases of Genocide. These former cases of Genocide although under different circumstances have been held as precedence for the conviction of others who have committed Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in the past. These cases have all the same denominator, Genocide.

Kenneth David
The evolution of the formulation of international laws for the prevention and eradication of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity has come about through the violence that has occurred throughout the history of modern man. This issue has been a problem since time immemorial, from the Hague Convention to the Rome Statute, the international community has progressively improved the international laws and how to have these crimes tried in the different courts we have today. As the first head of state to be tried and convicted of Genocide, Gen. Montt is another example of the progression of the laws against Genocide and Crimes against humanity. Yes some may pity the old man, but he must answer to his accusers and the crimes that he has committed against them and humanity. He claims he is innocent, but lets call a spade and spade. He may look old and frail now, but sometime in the past he did rule over the Guatemalan State. He attempted to wipe out a whole ethnic class. This man should have been brought to justice a lot earlier and hopefully the wheels of justice will be spinning a lot faster for future Gen. Montts. This former dictator will not be the last one to be convicted for the crime of genocide. Our international legal system and the improvement in the political climates of countries once in political turmoil are starting have some structure in their legal systems. We can only pray that other countries will follow suit and prosecute our villains of today. Hopefully Gen. Montt will be an example for future wannabe dictators/strong men who want to commit these crimes against humanity. Young or old, for some so called greater cause, justice will always be served to those who prey on the weak and innocent.