|General Efraín Ríos Montt (center) announces his military coup,|
Guatemala City, March 23, 1982 (Bettman/Corbis)
Rios Montt came to power after a coup d'etat on March 23, 1982 "and was accused of implementing a scorched-earth policy in which troops massacred thousands of indigenous villagers thought to be helping leftist rebels," reports Straits Times. A report at BBC News says that "Rios Montt was convicted of ordering the deaths of 1,771 people of the Ixil Maya ethnic group during his time in office in 1982 and 1983."
|Rios Montt on trial - AP|
Rios Montt still denies that he ordered any genocidal killings and claims that he did not have full control of everything that happened during the struggle.
It was the state's first official acknowledgment that genocide occurred during the bloody, 36-year civil war, something the current president, retired Gen. Otto Perez Molina, has denied. He knew about everything that was going on and he did not stop it, despite having the power to stop it from being carried out," said Presiding Judge Yassmin Barrios."Rios Montt is guilty of genocide." Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
- Rios Montt found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity Boing Boing
- Rios Montt, guilty as charged Central American Politics
- Profile: Guatemala's Efrain Rios Montt BBC News
- Guatemala Profile (a timeline) BBC