November 26th, 2011

The bodies of two men whose disappearance in 1984 was recorded in the notorious Guatemalan death squad diary have been located on a former military base outside the capital and positively identified through DNA testing, according to the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala, which announced its findings in a press conference this morning.   

The remains belong to Amancio Samuel Villatoro and Sergio Saúl Linares Morales, both captured by security forces in separate incidents and never seen by their families again. Nothing about their fates was known until 1999, when the National Security Archive publicly released the death squad diary, a military logbook created in the mid-1980s to record the abduction, secret detention and deaths of scores of people, Villatoro and Linares among them. In their entries, the document contains a coded reference to their executions. Today, 27 years after their disappearance and 12 years after the publication of the logbook, that information has been confirmed … //

… The National Security Archive is now preparing a report to be submitted to the Inter-American Court next year. In it, we will argue that the Guatemalan state is obligated by Article 13 of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights to respect the “right to truth” of the families and surviving victims of the crimes documented in the death squad diary and must provide unrestricted access to military archives pertaining to those crimes. Although the Historical Archives of the National Police – discovered accidently by human rights investigators in 2005 and since preserved, digitalized and opened to the public – include many hundreds of records related to the disappearances in the logbook, the Guatemalan army has yet to turn over a single document connected to those crimes. The records of the Archivos, the Directorate of Intelligence (D-2), the Center of Joint Operations (Centro de Operaciones Conjuntas-COC), and other military entities that ran the urban counterinsurgency operations in the mid-1980s must be released.

The exhumation of long-secret archives, combined with the exhumation of the mass graves that remain hidden around the country, will represent a critical step toward justice and the rule of law for the families of Sergio Linares, Amancio Villatoro, and the remaining 181 victims of the death squad diary. (full long text, Pictures, Chart, Notes and Documents 1 – 8).

Links related to this article:

Los Archivos de la Paz /Fundamentos;

CONAVIGUA, the National Coordinator of Widows of Guatemala;

Myrna Mack Foundation of Guatemala;

Inter-American Commission for Human Rights on February 18, 2011;

Berkeley International Human Rights Law Clinic;

Article 13 of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights

Historical Archives of the National Police

Caso 12.590, José Miguel Gudiel Álvarez and Others (Diario Militar v. Guatemala, Part one; Mirtala’s testimony begins at 53:00 minutes);

FAFG Website, consulted 21 November 2011;

Latinamerica Press, Eduardo García, Digging up the Truth in Guatemala
, 6 March 2004;

The Freedom of Information Act FOIA, on The National Security Archive NSA, different articles from March 16 to May 6 2008.

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