Peace without social reconciliation? Understanding the trial of Generals Ríos Montt and Rodriguez Sánchez in the wake of Guatemala’s genocide
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This article argues that the legal trial against Generals Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodriguez Sánchez for genocide and crimes against humanity has evidenced the interplay between the complex factors shaping post-conflict reconstruction and social reconciliation in post-genocide Guatemala, and, ultimately, the disjunctive impact of the country’s peace process. The ‘genocide trial’ then is more than a legal process in that it represents a thermometer for Guatemala’s peace process and, ultimately, for testing the nature and stability of the post-genocide/post-conflict conjuncture. Interiorization of human rights frameworks and justice mechanisms by indigenous and human rights activists, including of the Genocide Convention, has consolidated a partial rights culture. However, the trial and the overturning of its verdict have simultaneously evidenced the instability, fragility and disjunctive nature of post-conflict peace and the continuing impact of the profound legacy of the genocide and of social authoritarianism. The article argues that while the trial has wielded broad impact within both state institutions and society, consolidating indigenous political actors, it has simultaneously fortified spoilers and evidenced indigenous collective memory as a fragmented and contested sphere.
Brett , R 2016 , ' Peace without social reconciliation? Understanding the trial of Generals Ríos Montt and Rodriguez Sánchez in the wake of Guatemala’s genocide ' Journal of Genocide Research , vol 18 , no. 2-3 , pp. 285-303 . DOI: 10.1080/14623528.2016.1186955
Journal of Genocide Research
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/14623528.2016.1186955
I wish to thank Bridget Conley-Zilkic and Alex de Waal at the World Peace Foundation for their financial support.
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