Judicial authorities in Guatemala on Oct. 13 declared ex-president Oscar Humberto Mejía Victores a fugitive and ordered his arrest to face charges of genocide. The 80-year old Mejía, who led a coup against former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and served as president from 1983 to early 1986, is wanted for ordering massacres in the Ixil Triangle, a Quiché Maya indigenous region, when he served as chief of the military from 1982 to 1983. Guatemalan national police raided four homes in the capital, but failed to find Mejía.
While a UN-backed truth commission found that Guatemala’s military committed hundreds of massacres during the 1960-1996 civil war, the worst were in the Ixil area in early 1980s. Two former high-ranking military officials have been detained in connection with the Ixil massacres: former high command chief Héctor Mario López Fuentes and former military intelligence chief José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez. The Justice and Reconciliation Association (AJR), a survivor’s group, is calling for wider action against officials of the era. AJR’s Benjamín Gerónimo said “it is necessary that all those responsible for the genocide to be captured so that there can be justice for the victims.” (EFE, Oct. 18; Reuters, Prensa Libre, Guatemala, Oct. 13)