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Mon January 30, 2012
Guatemala's Former Dictator Faces Trial
Guatemala's former dictator — 85-year-old Efrain Rios Montt — is under house arrest, awaiting trial for genocide and crimes against humanity. During his 17-month rule from 1982 to 1983, the Guatemalan military carried out a scorched earth campaign in the Mayan highlands, in an effort to snuff out an insurrection by left-leaning guerilla fighters. Prosecutors are now looking to hold him accountable for the deaths of at least 1,771 men, women and children. For years Rios Montt was sheltered from prosecution because of legislative immunity, which expired earlier this month. Guatemala scholar Jennifer Schirmer talks with Melissa Block about the trial and its significance.