This panel invites analyses of the meanings and implications of the Ríos Montt trial and other multiple and varied aporias of justice in Guatemala.
On 10 May 2013, following a long judicial process, a Guatemalan Court found ex-Army General and de facto Head of State Efraín Ríos Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. The crimes were committed against the Maya Ixil population between 1982 and 1983 and included 1,771 murders, the forced displacement of 29,000 people and numerous cases of torture and sexual violence. The ruling condemned Ríos Montt to 80 years in prison, with immediate effect, and acquitted General Rodríguez Sánchez, the Director of Military Intelligence, or 'G 2', between 1982 and 1983, of both charges. On 21 May 2013, however, the Guatemalan Supreme Court overturned the verdict, ordering the release of Ríos Montt, invalidating all court proceedings after 19 April 2013. In Specters of Marx, Derrida argues that '[n]o justice - let us not say no law and once again we are not speaking here of laws - seems possible or thinkable without the principle of some responsibility, beyond all living present, within that which disjoins the living present, before the ghosts of those who are not yet born or who are already dead, be they victims of wars, political or other kinds of violence, nationalist, racist, colonialist, sexist or other kinds of extermination, victims of the oppressions of capitalist imperialism or any of the forms of totalitarianism' (Derrida 1993: xvii). This panel invites analyses of the meanings and implications of the Ríos Montt trial and other multiple and varied aporias of justice in Guatemala.