On Oct. 14, 2014 Guatemala’s Court for High-Risk Crimes ruled to open trial against two members of the Army for sexual slavery and domestic slavery against q’eqchís women in the military outpost of Sepur Zarco and other serious crimes perpetrated in the framework of the government countreinsurgency policies during the armed conflict.
The Historical Clarification Commission revealed that among the serious and massive human rights violations committed against the civil population, rape was a systematic practice carried out by the state as part of the counterinsurgent strategy. These women are telling their stories.
The court’s decision openly violates legal precepts and demonstrates the lack of independence of the court to the powerful economic and political groups. Nonetheless, the genocide trial opened a window to justice and truth–the fundamental bases for building peace.
Fifteen brave Guatemalan women from the indigenous qeqchí people testified before the High Risk Court in Guatemala City on Sept. 24-28, as part of the first criminal trial for sexual slavery and rape during the armed conflict. This legal action is historically transcendent, not only for being the first time that sexual violence during the armed conflict in Guatemala has come to trial, but also because it is the first trial for sexual slavery that has been brought to a national court. Previous cases have been presented in international courts.