For decades, Guatemala was paralyzed by a civil war that, according to some estimates, claimed up to 200,000 lives. Now some twenty years after the signing of the peace accord between the belligerents, more progress toward retribution is being made.
“A Guatemalan court has sentenced a former soldier to 5,160 years in prison for a massacre during one of the worst atrocities of the Central American nation’s civil war.
The court on Wednesday sentenced Santos Lopez to 30 years for each of the 171 killings, or 5,130 years in total. He received an additional 30 years in jail linked to the killing of a surviving child, but the sentences are symbolic because Guatemala‘s maximum prison term is 50 years.
Lopez was a member of a counterinsurgency force trained by the United States, called Kaibil. He was arrested in the US and deported in 2016.
According to the investigation, Lopez belonged to a patrol that committed the massacre in December 1982 in Dos Erres, on the border with Mexico.
The soldiers were trying to recover about 20 rifles stolen by rebels during an earlier ambush which killed 19 troops.“