WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on the proposal under consideration by the Guatemalan Congress that would free military officials and guerilla leaders convicted of grave crimes against humanity and gross violations of human rights.
“I am gravely concerned by the Guatemalan Congress’ proposal to grant amnesty for war crimes. The Guatemalan people endured unimaginable horrors, abuse and violence over the course of its decades long civil war. This included widespread rape and sexual violence, kidnapping, and the massacres of entire villages. Indigenous communities were targets of heinous acts of genocide. This proposal threatens to undo the commendable, but fragile, progress Guatemala has made to bring some of the worst perpetrators of this violence to justice. The amnesty would release more than 30 men convicted and currently imprisoned for these human rights abuses, threatening public safety in Guatemala and undermining accountability and rule of law. I support the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in rejecting this proposal and stand with the people of Guatemala in their quest for peace, justice, and democracy.”