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UA 229/91 - Guatemala: possible extrajudicial execution: Celistino Julaj Vicente

, Índice: AMR 34/029/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 34/29/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 229/91 Possible Extrajudicial Execution 4 July 1991
GUATEMALA: Celistino JULAJ VICENTE (aged 21)
Amnesty International is concerned at what appears to be the extrajudicial
execution of 21-year-old Celestino Julaj Vicente on 28 June 1991, in San Pedro
Jocopilas, El Quiché department. Celestino Julaj was a member of Consejo de
Comunidades Étnicas "Runujel Junam" (CERJ), Council of Ethnic Communities "We
are all Equal".
On 28 June 1991 Celestino Julaj, together with his wife and child went
from his home in the cantón (hamlet) of Chuitzalic, in the municipality of
San Pedro Jocopilas, to a one-day festival in the town of San Pedro Jocopilas.
During the festival the family were reportedly followed by three members of
the Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil (PAC), Civil Defence Patrols from Xoljuyub,
a hamlet of San Pedro Jocopilas municipality. As Celestino Julaj and his wife
and child were walking home from the festival, an unidentified man dressed
in olive green grabbed Celestino Julaj and threw him to the ground. The man
drew out a gun and shot Celestino Julaj four times in front of his wife and
child, and fled the scene. He was shot once in the face and three times in
the lower back; the coroner later retrieved a .38 calibre bullet from his body.
A .38 fire-arm is a standard issue army pistol.
On 15 May 1991 civil patrol chiefs from the whole municipality of San
Pedro Jocopilas reportedly attended a meeting in which they declared that they
would assassinate any CERJ members attending the forthcoming local festival.
It was against the advice of friends and relatives that Celestino Julaj
attended the festival.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
CERJ was formed in July 1988 to protect indigenous people's rights. It has
been particularly active in protesting at peasants being forced to join the
ostensibly voluntary Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil (PAC), Civil Defence
Patrols. Article 34 of the Guatemalan Constitution, which recognizes the right
to freedom of association, states that no-one may be forced to serve on self
defence groups. Since 1988 Celestino Julaj and others in his community stopped
participating in the PAC. Celestino Julaj joined CERJ in 1988 and was one
of four CERJ delegates in his community. Almost immediately after they decided
to stop participating in the PAC, they began receiving death threats from the
PAC chief, who told them that the army would be called to kill them. In October
1988 several members of the armed forces came to Chuitzalic to try and force
the new CERJ members to resume their patrolling, but were prevented by the
presence of the Procurador Auxiliar de los Derechos Humanos (Auxiliary Human
Rights Procurator) for El Quiché, and members of the National Police who had
come to the community at the request of the threatened CERJ members. After
this incident the CERJ members continued to receive death threats. On 10 April
1990 José (accent on e) Vicente García (accent on i), a cousin of Celestino
Julaj and a member of CERJ, was killed in the municipality of San Pedro Jocopilas.
2
At the time of his killing his family reported that José García had received
death threats from the mayor and the commander of the local PAC in Chuitzalic,
where he lived. (See UA 145/90, AI Index: AMR 34/29/90, 12 April 1990).
The authorities maintain the patrols are voluntary, but Amnesty
International knows of scores of cases where peasants who have not wished to
do patrol service have been labelled "subversives" by the army and subjected
to harassment, death threats, "disappearances" and extrajudicial execution.
The abuses have been carried out by uniformed soldiers as well as by men in
plain clothes believed to be members of the security forces or acting under
their orders.
CERJ has since its foundation been the target of a wide range of human
rights violations. Since January 1991 four CERJ members and three relatives
of CERJ members are known to have been killed in circumstances suggesting
official involvement.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the apparent extrajudicial execution of Celestino
Julaj Vicente in circumstances suggesting the involvement of the security forces
or civil patrols under their command.
- urging that a full and impartial investigation be initiated immediately
into his killing and that the results be made public;
- urging that those found to be responsible be brought to justice;
- asking for guarantees for the physical security of his family and other
members of CERJ from the municipality of San Pedro Jocopilas.
APPEALS TO
S.E. Jorge Serrano Elías Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente
Presidente de la República de Guatemala
Palacio Nacional
Guatemala, Guatemala
Telegrams: Presidente Serrano, Guatemala, Guatemala
Telexes: 5331 CAPRES GU
Faxes: + 502 2 537472; + 502 2 519702
Tel No: + 502 2 21212, + 502 2 22266
Gral. Luis Francisco Mendoza García Señor Ministro
Ministro de Defensa
Ministerio de Defensa
Palacio Nacional
Guatemala, Guatemala
Telegrams: Ministro Defensa Mendoza, Guatemala, Guatemala
Telexes: 5361 COMGUA GU
Faxes: + 502 2 537472
Tel No: + 502 2 21212, ext 2226
Señor Acisclo Valladares Señor Procurador General
Procurador General de la Nación
Procuraduría General de la Nación
3
18 Calle 10-36
Zona 1, Guatemala
Guatemala
Telegrams: Procurador General, Guatemala, Guatemala
Tel No: + 502 2 64697, + 502 2 313656 or
+ 502 2 518385
Coronel Carlos Eduardo Santizo Franco Sr. Coronel
Comandante
Base Militar No. 20
Santa Cruz del Quiché
El Quiché, Guatemala
Telegrams: Comandante Base Militar Santa Cruz, Quiche,
Guatemala
Tel No: + 502 9 551005, +502 9 551548
COPIES TO:
Lic. Oscar Enrique Cifuentes Cabrera
Procuraduría Auxiliar de Derechos Humanos
Santa Cruz del Quiché
El Quiché, Guatemala
Padre Andrés Girón León
Presidente
Comisión de Derechos Humanos
Congreso Nacional de la República
9 Av 9-48, Zona 1
Guatemala, Guatemala
Señores
Consejo de Comunidades Etnicas "Runujel Junam" (CERJ)
5a Avenida 3-13, Zona 5
Santa Cruz del Quiché
Guatemala
Diario Siglo XXI
7a Avenida 11-79
Edificio Galerias España, 6o piso
Zona 9, Guatemala, Guatemala
and to diplomatic representatives of in your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 15 August 1991.

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