The massacre took place in Rancho Bigoco, a mountain village north of Guatemala City. According to prosecutors, Juan Ofale Salazar ordered the mass killing because some villagers refused to take part in the military and civilian patrols. These patrols were created to keep the population under control during the war.
Eight people acquitted
The court acquitted eight members of the military and civil defense. The judge ruled that the eight had no choice, because they themselves would have been killed if they had not followed the orders of Juan Ofale Salazar.
Offaly Salazar, now 80, appeared in court but did not speak. He has ten days to appeal the ruling. He also faces charges of another mass murder in 1982, when 64 people were killed.
Previously, very high sentences were handed down for mass killings during the civil war. For example, in 2018 a soldier was sentenced to 5,160 years in prison for the mass murder of 171 people, and in 2012 a soldier was sentenced to 6,060 years in prison for the mass murder of 201 people. Those massacres also took place in 1982.
“Infuriatingly humble social media buff. Twitter advocate. Writer. Internet nerd.”