Guatemalan Judge Dismisses Charges in the Maya Achi Sexual Violence Case

On 21 June 2019, Guatemalan Judge Claudette Domínguez ruled that there was insufficient evidence to send six former members of the Civil Defence Patrols to trial for sexual violence against 36 Maya Achi women in Rabinal committed between 1981 and 1985 - when State violence against indigenous communities was at its worst. The victims are set to appeal the decision on 26 June. 

The hearings of the intermediate stage of the 36 Maya Achi women cases have been taking place in High-Risk Court “A” in Guatemala City. 

The decision by Judge Domínguez has a severe impact on the victims, especially women and girls, as well as on transitional justice and human rights. Judge Domínguez has previously taken decisions that seemed to be in favour of the military, such as in the CREOMPAZ case. 

The 36 Maya Achi women were subject to repeated acts of sexual violence in their homes, communities, or during their illegal detention in the former military facilities of Rabinal. The women’s accounts crosscut with the data of the Commission for Historical Clarification. The latter’s findings show that sexual violence was used as a weapon of war against indigenous women and that the military allowed arbitrary actions by the patrolmen in Rabinal.