U.S. Hails Guatemala for Convicting Military Men

Praises Outcome of Trial in Bishop´s Murder

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 10, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. State Department praised the decision of the Guatemalan Court to convict military men for their part in the 1998 murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi.

“The verdict of guilt is formidable evidence that in the end, justice will prevail in such cases of human rights in Guatemala,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Friday in a written statement. A court found three military figures and a priest guilty of the 1998 murder.

Boucher added that the U.S. government “recognizes the courage demonstrated by the judges, attorneys, witnesses and others who participated in this difficult trial, despite threats of intimidation against them.”

Bishop Gerardi was bludgeoned to death on April 26, 1998. His body was found in the garage of his parish residence. The case had political overtones, as the bishop was a member of a panel investigating atrocities committed during Guatemala´s 1960-1996 civil war.

The U.S. State Department exhorted the Guatemalan government to adopt all the means necessary to guarantee the security of all those who participated in the judicial process in order to avoid vengeance.

“We support the judges´ recommendation that the Office of the Procurator General continue its investigations of those elements of the case that are not clarified,” Boucher added.

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