Open letter from CEJIL on the murder of Monsignor Gerardi
During the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Monsignor Gerardi, CEJIL makes a public recognition of his efforts for the pursuit of truth.
PHOTO: Prensa Libre

San José, April 24, 2008.- On April 26, the 10th anniversary of the death of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi is commemorated. In the framework of this commemoration, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) wishes to publicly acknowledge the work of Monsignor Gerardi for his efforts on the pursuit of truth, which is reflected in the report of the Recovery of Historical Memory (Remhi), Guatemala Never Again.

Gerardi, 75 years old, was beaten to death in the garage of the parish house of the San Sebastian church, two days after having made public the aforementioned report. The Remhi documented over 55,000 human rights violations during the Guatemalan armed conflict and most cases were attributed to the Army. The report is written in four volumes, each one contains testimonies of the victims and analyses the forms and causes of the violence and poses recommendations.

Currently, two soldiers and a priest are serving a sentence of 20 years in prison for the assassination of Gerardi. However, the Guatemalan justice still has an outstanding debt because, ten years after Gerardi's crime, the identity of the intellectual authors is still unknown.

In recent days, Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruño recalled that the death of the bishop remains an open wound in the Church of Guatemala, which is willing to forgive, but wants to know "to whom and for what." The cardinal demands actions to shed a light on the murder of the bishop. CEJIL joins this request since Monsignor Gerardi was not only a defender of human rights but also made great efforts to seek the truth regarding the events that occurred during the armed conflict. Now it is necessary for society to also know the truth about the events that surrounded his death and for justice to be done. As well as addressing the recommendations made in the Remhi so that serious events like these do not happen again.