Core international crimes:

Crime of Aggression

Crimes Against Humanity

Genocide

War Crimes



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Judicial Decisions Peace Accords Background information Resources and
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Domestic Legislation on International Crimes

Crimes

Crime of Aggression

No provision.

Crimes Against Humanity

Article 378 of the Penal Code of Guatemala, entitled "Crimes against the duties of humanity", includes "inhuman acts against a civilian population":

    "Article 378.- Crimes against the duties of humanity.
    Whoever violates or infringes humanitarian duties, laws or conventions with regard to prisoners or hostages of war, or the wounded during military actions, or who commits inhumane acts against the civilian population, or against hospitals or places intended for the wounded, shall be punished with imprisonment of twenty to thirty years."
    [Translation by Equipo Nizkor]
Article 201ter punishes enforced disappearance of persons on political grounds when committed by state agents, as well as on any other grounds when committed by state agents or by "members of groups or gangs organized for terrorist purposes, insurgents, subversives or for any other criminal purpose". Article 202 punishes enslavement. However, the wording of these articles makes no explicit reference to crimes against humanity despite the fact that the widespread or systematic practice of enforced disappearance of persons and enslavement constitutes a crime against humanity.

Genocide

Genocide is included in Title XI, Chapter IV, Articles 376 and 377 of the Penal Code of Guatemala:

    "Article 376.- Genocide
    Genocide is the crime committed by anyone who, with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical or religious group, perpetrates any of the following acts:
      (1) Killing members of the group;
      (2) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
      (3) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
      (4) Forcibly transferring children or adults of the group to another group.
      (5) Imposing measures intended to sterilize members of the group or in any other way prevent their reproduction.
    The person responsible for genocide will be punished with imprisonment from 30 to 50 years."
    [Translation by Equipo Nizkor]
Article 377 of the Penal Code criminalizes the instigation and conspiracy to commit genocide.

See:

  • Código Penal de la República de Guatemala. (Criminal Code of Guatemala).
    Decreto No. 17-73, 05 julio 1973. [SPA]

    War Crimes

    Article 378 of the Penal Code of Guatemala, under Title XI, Chapter IV, contains certain categories of war crimes:

      "Article 378.- Crimes against the duties of humanity.
      Whoever violates or infringes humanitarian duties, laws or conventions with regard to prisoners or hostages of war, or the wounded during military actions, or who commits any inhumane act against the civilian population, or against hospitals or places intended for the wounded, shall be punished with imprisonment of twenty to thirty years."
      [Translation by Equipo Nizkor]
    See:

  • Código Penal de la República de Guatemala. (Criminal Code of Guatemala).
    Decreto No. 17-73, 05 julio 1973. [SPA]


    Jurisdiction

    Territorial and extraterritorial jurisdiction are provided for under Articles 4 and 5 of the Penal Code:

      "Article 4.- Territoriality of the criminal law.
      Unless otherwise provided in international treaties, this Code shall apply to all persons who commit criminal acts or misdemeanors in the territory of the Republic or in places or vehicles subject to its jurisdiction."

      "Article 5.- Extraterritoriality of the criminal law.
      This Code will also apply:
      (1) To criminal acts committed abroad by officials in the service of the Republic, where that act is not prosecuted in the country in which it is committed;
      (2) To criminal acts committed in a Guatemalan ship, aircraft or other means of transport, where that act is not prosecuted in the country in which it is committed;
      (3) To criminal acts committed abroad by a Guatemalan national where extradition has been refused;
      (4) To criminal acts committed abroad against a Guatemalan national where that act is not prosecuted in the country in which it is committed, provided that a charge is laid by the party concerned or the Public Prosecutor's Office and the accused person is present in Guatemala;
      (5) To criminal acts which under an international treaty or convention must be punished in Guatemala, even if they were not committed in its territory;
      (6) To criminal acts committed abroad against the security of the State, the constitutional order and the integrity of the territory, and the forgery of a legal signature, bonds and other securities and credit documents."

      [Translation by Equipo Nizkor]
    See:

  • Código Penal de la República de Guatemala. (Criminal Code of Guatemala).
    Decreto No. 17-73, 05 julio 1973. [SPA]


    International Criminal Court

    Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: The Republic of Guatemala acceded to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on 02 April 2012.

    Upon accession the Republic of Guatemala made the following notification under article 87 (1) and (2) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court:
      "1. In accordance with article 87 (1) (a) of the Statute, the requests for cooperation from the International Criminal Court must be transmitted through the diplomatic channel to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guatemala.

      2. In accordance with article 87 (2) of the Statute, the requests for cooperation from the International Criminal Court and any documents supporting the request must be written in the Spanish language or be accompanied by a translation into Spanish."


  • Judicial Decisions

    Sepur Zarco case:

  • Sentencia en el caso Sepur Zarco. Sentencia C-01076-2012-00021, 26 febrero 2016. [SPA]. [Edition in Progress]
    [Full text of judgement condemning two former military officers, Cols. Esteelmer Francisco Reyes Girón and Heriberto Valdez Asig, for "crimes against the duties of humanity" against eleven Maya Q’eqchi’ women].

    The case of General Ríos Montt:

  • Sentencia de la Corte de Constitucionalidad anulando la condena a Ríos Montt
    Corte de Constitucionalidad, Ciudad de Guatemala, 20 mayo 2013. [SPA]

  • Votos disidentes razonados de los magistrados Gloria Patricia Porras Escobar y Mauro Roderico Chacón Corado
    Corte de Constitucionalidad, Ciudad de Guatemala, 20 mayo 2013. [SPA]

  • Sentencia condenando al ex dictador Ríos Montt por genocidio
    Tribunal Primero de Sentencia Penal, Narcoactividad y Delitos contra el Ambiente, Ciudad de Guatemala, 10 mayo 2013. [SPA]

  • Acusación formal contra Ríos Montt presentada por el Ministerio Público
    Ministerio Público, Fiscalía de Sección de DD.HH., Unidad de Casos Especiales del Conflicto Armado Interno, Ciudad de Guatemala, 27 marzo 2012. [SPA]

  • Seguimiento caso General Ríos Montt. Derechos Human Rights, Equipo Nizkor. [SPA/ENG]

    The Dos Erres Massacre:

  • Sentencia condenatoria en el caso de la Masacre de las Dos Erres.
    Tribunal Primero de Sentencia Penal, Narcoactividad y Delitos Contra el Ambiente, Guatemala, 02 agosto 2011. [SPA]

  • Sentencia en el caso de la Masacre de Las Dos Erres Vs. Guatemala.
    Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos - CIDH, 24 noviembre 2009. [SPA]

    The Río Negro Massacres:

  • The Rio Negro massacres. (Chixoy Dam atrocities and mass evictions)
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [SPA, with some documents available in English].


  • Peace Accords

    - Under Construction-

  • Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace. 29 December 1996. [ENG]

  • Agreement on the Implementation, Compliance and Verification Timetable for the Peace Agreements. 29 December 1996. [ENG]

  • Agreement on the Basis for the Legal Integration of Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). 12 December 1996. [ENG]

  • Agreement on Constitutional Reforms and Electoral Regime. 07 December 1996. [ENG]

  • Agreement on the Definitive Ceasefire. 04 December 1996. [ENG]

  • Agreement on the Strengthening of Civilian Power and on the Role of the Armed Forces in a Democratic Society. 19 September 1996. [ENG]

  • Agreement on Socio-economic Aspects of the Agrarian Situation. 06 May 1996. [ENG]

  • Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 31 March 1995. [ENG]

  • Agreement on the Establishment of the Commission to Clarify Past Human Rights Violations and Acts of Violence that have Caused Guatemalan Population to Suffer. 23 June 1994. [ENG]

  • Agreement on the Resettlement of Population Groups Uprooted by the Armed Conflict. 17 June 1994. [ENG]

  • Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights. 29 March 1994. [ENG]

  • Agreement on a Timetable for Negotiations of a Firm and Lasting Peace in Guatemala. 29 March 1994. [ENG]

  • Framework Agreement for the Resumption of the Negotiating Process between the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolutionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). 10 January 1994. [ENG]

  • Framework Agreement on Democratisation in the Search for Peace by Political Means (Queretaro Agreement). 25 July 1991. [ENG]

  • Agreement on the Procedure for the Search for Peace by Political Means (Mexico Agreement). 26 April 1991. [ENG]

  • Agreement on a General Agenda. 26 April 1991. [ENG]

  • El Escorial Agreement. 01 June 1990. [ENG]

  • Declaración de Montelimar de los presidentes centroamericanos
    A/44/936, S/21235, Asamblea General y Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas, Nueva York, 09 abril 1990. [SPA]

  • Declaración de Montelimar de los presidentes centroamericanos
    A/44/936, S/21235, Asamblea General y Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas, Nueva York, 09 abril 1990. [SPA]
  • Montelimar Declaration of the Central American Presidents
    A/44/936, S/21235, United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, New York, 09 April 1990. [ENG]
  • Déclaration de Montelimar des présidents centraméricains
    A/44/936, S/21235, Assemblée générale et Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies, New York, 09 avril 1990. [FRA]

  • Basic Agreement for the Search for Peace by Political Means (Oslo Agreement). 30 March 1990. [ENG]

  • Declaración de San Isidro de Coronado de los presidentes centroamericanos
    A/44/872, S/21019, Asamblea General y Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas, Nueva York, 12 diciembre 1989. [SPA]
  • Declaration of San Isidro de Coronado of the Central American Presidents
    A/44/872, S/21019, United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, New York, 12 December 1989. [ENG]
  • Déclaration de San Isidro de Coronado des présidents centraméricains
    A/44/872, S/21019, Assemblée générale et Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies, New York, 12 décembre 1989. [FRA]

  • Declaración conjunta de la Costa del Sol de los presidentes centroamericanos
    A/44/140, S/20491, Asamblea General y Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas, Nueva York, 27 febrero 1989. [SPA]
  • Costa del Sol Joint Declaration of the Central American Presidents
    A/44/140, S/20491, United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, New York, 27 February 1989. [ENG]
  • Déclaration conjointe de la Costa del Sol des présidents centraméricains
    A/44/140, S/20491, Assemblée générale et Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies, New York, 27 février 1989. [FRA]

  • Declaración conjunta de Alajuela de los Presidentes de Centroamérica
    A/42/911, S/19447, Asamblea General y Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas, Nueva York, 22 enero 1988. [SPA]
  • Alajuela Joint Declaration of the Central American Presidents
    A/42/911, S/19447, United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, New York, 22 January 1988. [ENG]
  • Déclaration commune d'Alajuela des présidents des Etats d'Amérique centrale
    A/42/911, S/19447, Assemblée générale et Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies, New York, 22 janvier 1988. [FRA]

  • Acuerdo de creación de la Comisión Nacional de Reconciliación. 11 septiembre 1987. [SPA]

  • Procedimientos para la paz firme y duradera en Centroamérica
    A/42/521, S/19085, Asamblea General y Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas, Nueva York, 31 agosto 1987. [SPA]
  • Procedure for the establishment of a firm and lasting peace in Central America
    A/42/521, S/19085, United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, New York, 31 August 1987. [ENG]
  • Processus à suivre pour instaurer une paix stable et durable en Amérique centrale
    A/42/521, S/19085, Assemblée générale et Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies, New York, 31 août 1987. [FRA]

  • Declaración de Esquipulas de los presidentes centroamericanos
    A/40/1119, S/18106, Asamblea General y Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas, Nueva York, 28 mayo 1986. [SPA]
  • Esquipulas Declaration of the Central American Presidents
    A/40/1119, S/18106, United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, New York, 28 May 1986. [ENG]
  • Déclaration de Esquipulas des présidents centraméricains
    A/40/1119, S/18106, Assemblée générale et Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies, New York, 28 mai 1986. [FRA]


    Background Information

    Death Squads and International Connections:

  • Notorious Guatemalan School of the Americas Graduates. (Graduados guatemaltecos notorios de la Escuela de las Américas).
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [ENG]

  • Guatemalan School of the Americas Students and Instructors. (Estudiantes e Instructores guatemaltecos de la Escuela de las Américas).
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [ENG]

  • Argentine School of the Americas Students and Instructors. (Estudiantes e Instructores argentinos de la Escuela de las Américas).
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [ENG]

  • Inteligencia de Combate. (U.S. Army Training Manual used at the School of the Americas: Combat Intelligence).
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [SPA]

  • Manejo de Fuentes. (U.S. Army Training Manual used at the School of the Americas: Handling of Sources).
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [SPA]

  • Manual de Interrogatorio. (U.S. Army Training Manual used at the School of the Americas: Interrogation).
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [SPA]

  • Manual de Terrorismo y Guerrilla Urbana. (U.S. Army Training Manual used at the School of the Americas: Terrorism and the Urban Guerilla ).
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [SPA]

  • Civil Wars in Central America: Selected bibliography.
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [ENG]

    Human Rights Reports:

  • CICIACS - CICIG (Commission for the Investigation of Illegal Groups and Clandestine Security Organizations in Guatemala).
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [SPA]

  • The Rio Negro massacres. (Chixoy Dam atrocities and mass evictions)
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [SPA, with some documents available in English].

  • Caso Myrna Mack.
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [SPA, with some documents available in English].

  • Human Rights Reports.
    Equipo Nizkor, Derechos Human Rights. [SPA, with some documents available in English].

  • From Silence to Memory: Revelations of the AHPN
    The National Security Archive. [ENG]. [Last accessed 03Apr18]. [External Link]
  • The Guatemalan Military: What the U.S. Files Reveal.
    The National Security Archive. [ENG]. [Last accessed 03Apr18]. [External Link]


  • Resources and Links

  • Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala. (1985, with amendments through 1993).
    Comparative Constitutions Project, University of Texas at Austin. [ENG]. [Last accessed 06Apr18]. [External Link to pdf document]

  • Constitución política de la República de Guatemala. (Reformada por Acuerdo legislativo No. 18-93 del 17 de Noviembre de 1993).
    Ministerio de Gobernación, Gobierno de la República de Guatemala. [SPA]. [Last accessed 03Apr18]. [External Link to pdf document]

  • Código Procesal Penal. Decreto No. 51-92, 28 septiembre 1992. (Code of Criminal Procedure).
    Organization of American States. [SPA]. [Last accessed 04Apr18]. [External Link to .doc document]

  • Ley de la Policía Nacional Civil. Decreto No. 11-97.
    Ministerio de Gobernación, Gobierno de la República de Guatemala. [ENG]. [Last accessed 03Apr18]. [External Link to pdf document]

  • Iniciativa que dispone aprobar la Ley de la Policía Nacional Civil. No. Iniciativa: 5410.
    Congreso de la República. [SPA]. [Last accessed 03Apr18]. [External Link]

  • Fundamental Legal Texts and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation.
    Organization of American States. [SPA]. [Last accessed 04Apr18]. [External Link]

  • Consulta Legislativa.
    Congreso de la República. [SPA]. [Last accessed 03Apr18]. [External Link]

  • List of International Humanitarian Law Treaties to which Guatemala is a State party.
    International Committee of the Red Cross. [ENG]. [Last accessed 03Apr18]. [External Link]