Guatemala court overturns genocide conviction

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Guatemala’s top court has overturned the genocide conviction of former military ruler Efrain Rios Montt and ordered that his trial restart. Constitutional Court secretary Martin Guzman said on Monday that the trial needs to go back to where it stood on April 19 to solve several appeal issues. The ruling came 10 days after a three-judge panel convicted the 86-year-old Rios Montt of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in massacres of Mayans during Guatemala’s civil war. It found he knew about the slaughter of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayans in the western highlands and did not stop it. The tribunal sentenced him to 80 years in prison in what many called a historic decision. It was the first such sentence ever given to a former Latin American leader. Rios Montt’s lawyers immediately filed an appeal and he spent only one day in prison before he was moved to a military hospital, where he remains.