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Guatemala's Top Court Overturns Ex-Dictator's Genocide Conviction


Former Guatemalan leader Efrain Rios Montt gestures as he speaks at his genocide trial in Guatemala City in early May.

Former Guatemalan leader Efrain Rios Montt gestures as he speaks at his genocide trial in Guatemala City in early May.

Guatemala's highest court has overturned the genocide conviction of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt and ordered a new trial.

Rios Montt had been found guilty on May 10 and sentenced to 80 years in prison in what had been seen as an historic verdict.

The Constitutional Court, however, on May 20 ordered that all proceedings in the case be voided going back to April 19, citing several appeal issues.

It was not immediately clear when the trial might restart.

Rios Montt, 86, was convicted of genocide in connection with the massacres of indigenous people during Guatemala’s 1960-96 civil war.

Rios Montt seized power in 1982 and ruled until 1983 during what is widely seen as one of the bloodiest periods of the war between the military and leftist rebels.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP
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