Spanish authorities on April 5 issued an international arrest warrant for a former Guatemalan soldier who was allegedly involved in a 1982 massacre in which 200 indigenous villagers were slaughtered.
Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa, 53, was arrested in Canada in January on charges that he lied about serving in Guatemala´s armed forces when questioned to obtain US citizenship.
Orantes Sosa was a member of the elite Kaibiles army squad, which is believed to be behind the 1982 massacre in Dos Erres, a tiny village in the northern Peten department. Squad members systematically killed villagers, first raping some of the women, and killed babies with sledgehammers, before throwing the victims down a well.
The Spanish National Court is hearing an umbrella case of crimes against humanity stemming from Guatemala´s three-decade civil war that ended in 1996, after 250,000 people were killed, including charges of terrorism, genocide and torture against then-head of state General Efraín Ríos Montt and two other top officials.
“The victims in the Guatemala Genocide case have been working tirelessly for years to find and make sure that Sosa Orantes and many like him are prosecuted for the brutal crimes they committed,” said Pamela Merchant, executive director of the US-based Center for Justice and Accountability, the chief counsel to the plaintiffs who filed the case, led by Nobel Peace Price winnter Rigoberta Menchu in the genocide case. “Charging Sosa Orantes with genocide and securing his prosecution for the Dos Erres massacre is the beginning of the justice the victims want and deserve.”