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Torres, Engel, McGovern, Sires Statement on Proposal by Guatemalan Congress to Grant Amnesty for War Crimes

February 12, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Representatives Norma J. Torres (D-CA), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), James P. McGovern (D-MA), and Albio Sires (D-NJ) released the following statement in response to the proposal the Guatemalan Congress is expected to vote on this week, which would free military officials and guerilla leaders convicted of grave crimes against humanity including genocide, rape, and forced disappearance:


“We are appalled by the Guatemalan Congress’ proposal to grant amnesty for war criminals. During the country’s long civil war, the Guatemalan people, especially the indigenous communities, endured unspeakable horrors. Entire villages were massacred, women were kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery, and thousands were disappeared and tortured. To amnesty those responsible for these crimes against humanity now would mean that more than thirty men convicted and currently imprisoned for the gravest of human rights abuses would be set free. It would threaten public safety in Guatemala, reopen old wounds, undermine accountability and rule of law, and set back the country’s transition to democracy. Unfortunately, this proposal is only the latest in a series of efforts by Guatemala’s political elite to reverse the cause of justice while ignoring the country’s obligations under international law. We stand firmly with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in rejecting this proposal. The United States must not turn a blind eye to the victims of these despicable acts and must stand firmly on the side of the Guatemalan people.”