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Guatemala sexual slavery verdict shows women's bodies are not battlefields | Catalina Ruiz-Navarro | Global development | The Guardian

3.3.16

Guatemala sexual slavery verdict shows women's bodies are not battlefields | Catalina Ruiz-Navarro | Global development | The Guardian - After decades of impunity, two former soldiers – base commander Esteelmer Reyes Girón and paramilitary Heriberto Valdez Asij – have been found guilty of crimes against humanity. On Friday, the high-risk court in Guatemala City sentenced them to a total of 360 years in prison for their crimes including the sexual enslavement of women.

The Sepur Zarco trial was groundbreaking for three reasons. Unlike other trials involving sexual violence during armed conflicts – such as the cases in Rwanda (pdf) and former Yugoslavia – the proceedings were conducted entirely by a national court.

The verdict has set a precedent for treating domestic and sexual slavery as war crimes – something that is crucial for the advancement of transitional justice in many Latin American countries.


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