General Efraín Ríos Montt,
former leader of Guatemala,
described by former President Ronald Reagan as
"a man of great personal integrity and commitment,"
has been sentenced to 80 years in prison
and crimes against humanity.
The verdict marked the first time a former head of state had been found guilty of genocide in his or her own country.
Update: May 25, 2013
Guatemala City - The overturning this week of former military dictator Gen. Efrain Rios Montt’s conviction on charges stemming from Guatemala’s brutal civil war has created a surprising consensus among critics on both the left and the right: Prosecutors badly overreached when they tried to pin accusations of genocide on the 86-year-old former president. . . .
A fellow former guerrilla leader, Gustavo Porras, said Rios Montt had deployed soldiers in a scorched-earth campaign in the remote Ixil Triangle region because rebels had a strong presence in the area, not because he sought to wipe out the Ixil Maya, one of 21 ethnic Mayan groups in the nation. ...
After weeks of wrenching testimony from Ixil witnesses about mass rapes, disembowelments and rampant murders during the Rios Montt regime, a three-judge panel handed down convictions May 10 on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, giving Rios Montt an 80-year jail sentence.
But in a dramatic reversal, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court overturned the verdict Monday, citing procedural errors.