Before sunrise on December 7th, 1982, members of the Guatemalan military entered the community of Las Dos Erres in the country’s northernmost department of the Petén. By the same time the next day, this elite squadron known as the Kaibiles would have massacred the community’s inhabitants – more than 200 men, women and young children – leaving few survivors.
Why is this massacre relevant today, nearly 30 years later? Survivors are demanding justice for the crimes committed by the Guatemalan military during the country’s 36-year internal armed conflict, and international law is on their side. Four of the seventeen ex-military accused of participating in the massacre of Dos Erres were recently convicted in Guatemala for mass murder and crimes against humanity. Legal processes aimed at ending impunity for the remainder are being conducted in several countries, including Canada.
On January 18, 2011, Jorge Sosa Orantes was arrested in Lethbridge, Alberta, at the request of the United States. Although wanted in the US for immigration fraud, his name appears among the alleged perpetrators of the massacre of Las Dos Erres. Extradition orders are being processed from three different countries: United States, Guatemala, and Spain. The US extradition request is for citizenship fraud and would only call for a 10-year prison sentence. But Sosa Orantes could also be called to courts in Canada under the War Crimes Act to face the full charges of crimes against humanity. This is what we are calling for. Also, both Sosa Orantes and one of the survivors have Canadian citizenship.
We hope you will support our campaign for justice by sending the Open Letter, under ‘TAKE ACTION‘, regarding the extradition and investigation of Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes. We ask Canada’s federal government to take on this case, and not simply have him extradited to the United States.
We have gathered detailed information about the case and the context, under ‘The legal case‘, ‘Timeline‘ and ‘Editorials‘, and we invite you to read about it. Under ‘Media coverage‘, we are adding links to articles in the media related to the case, as they are published.