San Jose, May 23, 2018.- The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) receives with great satisfaction the ruling issued by Guatemala´s Higher Risk Court which found four of the five high-ranking military officers, accused of participating in different human rights violations, guilty of the rape of Emma Molina Thiessen; and of the forced disappearance of Marco Antonio, who was 14 years old when he was kidnapped from his home.
This historic ruling happens thanks to the tireless pursuit by the Molina Theissen family for justice, nearly 37 years after the events took place. Moreover, the decision marks a transcendental step for the justice of the country, as it fulfills one of the international obligations by the State of Guatemala, which in 2004 was found responsible internationally for these acts, due to the absence of justice in the country.
The ruling issued by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, ordered Guatemala to identify, judge and punish all material and intellectual authors behind the forced disappearance of Marco Antonio, guaranteed the widespread publicity of the process.
As a result, on March 1, a public trial began. Throughout those two and a half months, the guarantees for judicial independence were upheld.
In light of technical, expert, documentary and testimonial evidence, and international standards on sexual violence and enforced disappearances, the court unanimously established beyond a reasonable doubt that members of the Guatemalan military designed and implemented a strategy to terrorize the general population and commit the serious human rights violations presented in the case.
The determination of those responsible for the serious crimes against Emma, Marco Antonio and the Molina Theissen family are a basis for the construction of historical truth. This ruling will directly affect the family as well as Guatemalan society, because it acknowledges that these events took place and therefore, precautions must be taken so that they do not happen again.
Here at CEJIL, we reaffirm our commitment to continue accompanying the Molina Theissen family to ensure the full compliance of the Court´s decision and to continue with the search for the remains of Marco Antonio.
Today Guatemala rewrites its history, moving forward in the fight against impunity present in crimes against humanity and serious human rights violations committed during the armed conflict. For the country, this judgment represents a milestone for building a more prosperous, equitable future in which no one is found above the law.