European Institute of Security and Justice Speaker Series
“Genocide Trials and Human Rights Protection in Post-Conflict Guatemala”
Dr. Roddy Brett, University of St. Andrews
Date: 6th November 2014, 4 pm
Location: Dalhousie 2F14 (G)
Abstract/Description: This paper argues that the legal trial against Generals Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodriguez Sánchez for genocide and crimes against humanity has evidenced the interplay between the complex factors shaping post-conflict reconstruction and social reconciliation in post-genocide Guatemala, and, ultimately, the disjunctive impact of the country’s peace process and human rights protection. The ‘genocide trial’ then is about more than a legal process, but rather represents a thermometer for Guatemala’s peace process and, ultimately, for testing the nature and stability of the post-genocide / post-conflict conjuncture.
Dr. Roddy Brett is Lecturer in International Relations and Joint Coordinator of the M. Litt in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of St. Andrews. He has published eight books on issues of human rights, peace building and political violence. Dr. Brett worked with the Centre for Human Rights Legal Action in Guatemala, initially as Field Investigator, and subsequently as Coordinator of the Department for Justice and Reconciliation (DEJURE). In this capacity, he was a member of the original team that prepared the evidence for and political strategy of the legal case filed against three former presidents of Guatemala and their military high commands of the 1980s for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This led to the conviction by a Guatemalan court of former dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt in May 2013 for eighty years for genocide and crimes against humanity.