During the internal armed conflict, Felipe Cusanero Coj carried out six illegal arrests in the village of Choatalum, Chimaltenango Department, Guatemala, between September 1982 and October 1984.
After getting to court in March 2008, the process was suspended for 15 months due to defence claims that it was unconstitutional. In reply to this, the Constitutional Court established the permanent and continued nature of the crime of forced disappearance of people which made it possible to resume the trial last month.
Statements from relatives who witnessed the arrests were presented during the trial: the reports “Guatemala: Never Again” (Guatemala Nunca Más), “the Memory of Silence” (Memoria del Silencio) and documents from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
For the Centre for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH), this sentence “is of great importance for the thousands of victims of the internal armed conflict, since it offers a glimmer of hope for those who suffered crimes against humanity committed by the Guatemalan State through its repressive forces”.
*Translation: Rhona Desmond*