International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Searching for Peace and Justice in Guatemala

This slideshow from the New York Times shows some of the still-ongoing aftermath of the Guatemalan Civil War. The 36 year-long conflict ended in 1996, but justice has not been served for the majority of mass atrocities committed during the fighting. Impunity runs rampant, and drug cartels operate without interference. The photos come from a photographer living in Guatemala who has been photographing the exhumation of mass graves in the country. Victims and survivors are still searching for acknowledgment for many of the atrocious crimes committed, as well as a sense of closure and justice. The former government has been accused of conducting a genocide against indigenous Mayans in the country. In 2013, the former dictator was tried in Guatemala on charges on genocide and was convicted. However, the sentence of 80 years in prison was overturned and he faces trial again. A truth commission was commissioned, but to little effect. Shortcoming include a lack of follow-up on recommendations from the report, such as reparations, and poor accessibility and outreach to victims, especially Mayans. As such, little justice has been served against the former perpetrators. Further, people continue to be displaced from their land, and dissidents are often punished with jail or violence. Although the war has ended, justice seems to have been sacrificed in favor of peace; a peace that is tenuous, and debatable. Many tie current cycles of local violence and gang activity to the war and lack of justice.

Also, the photos are beautiful.


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