Washington, D.C. -- For the first time, scientific analysis places responsibility for the majority of killings that occurred in Guatemala over a 36-year period of armed conflict in the hands of the government regimes that ruled the country.
A new report by AAAS and the International Center for Human Rights Research (CIIDH) presents quantitative data that attributes 97 percent of the 37,255 documented cases of killings and disappearances to the state as part of a deliberate government policy of extra-judicial killing, and less than 1 percent to the armed opposition. The report, titled State Violence in Guatemala, 1960-1996: A Quantitative Reflection, will be released in English and Spanish in Guatemala on January 14.
Although much of the political violence in Guatemala over the last three decades has been attributed to the state, this is the first time that scientific analysis has been used to reach such a conclusion. The quantitative report uses statistics from documentary sources, press reports, and interviews, together with historical analysis, to tell the story of state violence in Guatemala. Numbers and graphs help establish who the victims were, how they were killed, when they were killed, and who killed them.
Since 1993, AAAS has advised CIIDH, a small non-government organization, on analyzing the information collected on extrajudicial executions and disappearances, as well as thousands of other gross human rights violations. Scientific methods allow those investigating human rights abuses to see otherwise invisible patterns in the violence.
Patrick Ball, deputy director of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program and
primary author of the report, said despite the fact that it is impossible to
know the full extent of the violence committed in Guatemala, "the evidence is
clear -- tens of thousands have died at the hands of the state." According to the
report, the level o
Contact: Ellen Cooper
American Association for the Advancement of Science