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Guatemala: Extrajudicial executions/fear for safety: killed: Abel Ramirez Perez, Manuela Mateo Pascual, Maurilia Coc Macs, Pedro Medina Sanchez, Santiago Coc Pop, Paulo Coc Coc, Juana Jacinto Felipe, Hilaria Morente de la Cruz, Pedro Diego Andres, Andres

, N° d'index: AMR 34/026/1995

Eleven indigenous peasants, including two children, have been killed as a result of an attack by members of the Guatemalan armed forces against the commmunity of Aurora 8 de Octubre in Baja Verapaz Department. AI is seeking immediate clarification of the measures promised by the government to bring those responsible to justice and is urging that the safety of witnesses to the attack and those injured in it be guaranteed as a matter of urgency.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 34/26/95
UA 234/95 Extrajudicial Executions/Fear for Safety 10 October 1995
Killed: Abel RAMÍREZ PÉREZ, 36
Manuela MATEO PASCUAL, 20 (f)
Maurilia COC MACS,7 (f)
Santiago COC POP, 8
Paulo COC COC, 35
Juana Jacinto FELIPE, 39 (f)
Hilaria MORENTE DE LA CRUZ, 48 (f)
Pedro Diego ANDRES, 34
Andrés Miguel MATEO, 60
Fernando CHOC CHIC, 17 (died in hospital in Salamá, 6 October)
Injured include: Efraín GRAVE MORENTE, 17
Juana Felipe VELÁSQUEZ, 55
Carlos Fernando CHOC, 17
Pedro MATEO, 33
José PASCUAL, 39
Francisco HERNÁNDEZ, 57
Santos CHOC MAC, 45
Santiago MAQUIN, 66
Martín QUIP MUCU, 30
Víctor CARRILLO, 40
Rosenda SALES ORTIZ, 30 (f)
Ricardo POP CAAL, 25
Marcos JOLOM NAYAC, 27
Eleven indigenous peasants, including two children, have been killed as a result
of an attack by uniformed members of the Guatemalan armed forces against the
community of Aurora 8 de Octubre, also known as Xamán, of Chisec Municipality,
Baja Verapaz Department. Amnesty International is seeking immediate
clarification of measures promised by the government to bring those responsible
to justice and is urging that the safety of witnesses to the attack and those
injured in it be guaranteed as a matter of urgency.
The community of Aurora 8 de Octubre consisted of a group of 441 refugees,
predominantly of Kekchi indigenous origin, who were resettled in the Chisec
area after their repatriation from Mexico on 14 October 1994. According to
witness statements, on 5 October 1995, as the community was making preparations
to celebrate the first anniversary of their return, an army patrol entered
the community after having been encountered by villagers in the surrounding
area. When challenged, the patrol stated that they wished to discuss army
participation in the forthcoming celebrations. An argument ensued, with
villagers objecting to the presence of the patrol, which they argued was in
violation of government resettlement agreements. The officer in charge of the
patrol then reportedly made a radio communication, after which he gave the
order to open fire. Witnesses state that the soldiers fired indiscriminately,
and exploded several grenades, as a result of which three soldiers were among
those wounded. The returnees reported that as the the soldiers retreated,
they fired again at some of the wounded, and shot and killed an eight-year-old
boy fishing in a nearby stream.
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
the courts;
- 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
Telegrams: Presidente de León Carpio, Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 537472/515667
Salutation: Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente / Dear President
2) Minister of Defence
Gral. Mario René Enríquez Morales
Ministro de Defensa
Ministerio de Defensa
Palacio Nacional,Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Telegrams: Ministro de Defensa, Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 537472
Salutation: Sr. Ministro / Dear Minister
3) Attorney General
Lic. Ramses Cuestas Gómez
Fiscal General de la Nación
Ministerio Público
18 Calle 10-36, Zona 1
Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Faxes: + 502 2 537554; + 502 2 530482
Telegrams: Fiscal General, Guatemala, Guatemala
Salutation: Señor Fiscal General / Dear Attorney General
Human Rights Procurator
Lic. Jorge García Laguardia
Procurador de los Derechos Humanos
12 Avenida 12-72
Zona 1, Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Commander of the Military Base, Cobán
Col. Samy Noé Vásquez Benavente
Base Militar No. 21
Alta Verapaz, GUATEMALA
Diario El Gráfico
14 Ave., 4-33, Zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA
and to diplomatic representatives of Guatemala accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 21 November 1995.

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