The attack left a total of 10 peasants dead and 15 others seriously wounded,
one of whom died on 6 October. Also on 6 October several seriously wounded
peasants were taken to San Juan de Díos Hospital in Guatemala City. At least
15 others suffered less serious injuries.
After initially denying army involvement, the Minister of Defence confirmed
the killings had been carried out by members of the armed forces, but stated
that his troops were attacked by members of the community when they entered
the village at the villagers' invitation. President Ramiro de León Carpio
has appointed a government commission to bring to justice those responsible.
Amnesty International's concern for the witnesses is heightened by the fact
that in the past it has documented cases where survivors of human rights
violations, attributed to the security forces, have themselves become the
victims of extrajudicial executions, as well acts of intimidation and
harassment. Wounded survivors have also reported having been visited in
hospital by men in plain clothes, whom they believe were members of the security
forces, or those working with them (see Amnesty International Annual Report
1995, AI Index: POL/10/01/95).
Few, if any, of these killings have been investigated by the Guatemalan
government, and abuses continue, directed against those who have joined the
call for inquiries into past abuses.
The late 1970s and early 1980s also saw a mass exodus from the area of Alta
Verapaz, which was a frequent target of the Guatemalan military's
counter-insurgency campaign. Many inhabitants were extrajudicially executed
by the army and the civilian defence squads formed by the army and acting under
its command. Indigenous people fled to seek refuge abroad or became displaced
elsewhere in Guatemala. Some refugees and displaced persons are now returning
under plans agreed by refugee representatives, the Guatemalan government,
representatives of the armed opposition and of the United Nations in the context
of ongoing peace negotiations. The agreements specified that the safety of
all returned refugees and displaced communities was to be assured.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the killings in Aurora 8 de Octubre on 5 October 1995;
urging the immediate publication of the terms of reference of the body
investigating the events be made immediately public and that its findings be
made known as soon as they are available;
- urging that any criminal acts found to have been committed be referred to
- asking for assurances that all those injured in the attack will receive
adequate medical care;
- seeking guarantees for the physical integrity of all witnesses to the incident.
1) President of the Republic
S.E. Ramiro de León Carpio
Presidente de la República de Guatemala
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA