Brussels criminal court orders the arrest of 80ies high government officials of Guatemala and sends them on to Assizes

The investigative chamber of the Brussels criminal court decided to send the suspects of the murder and disappearance of 3 Belgian members of CICM Missionaries at the start of the 80ies to the chamber of indictment of Brussels. She also issued international arrest warrants for them, which emphasizes the severity of these crimes. This enables the extradition to Belgium if they get apprehended.

The chamber considered the case of such severity to send it to the court of Assizes, competent for these international crimes.

Between now and the trial for the court of Assizes, the chamber of indictment is the next hurdle.

The families of the victims want, first and foremost, to receive more information on the precise circumstances of these crimes.

“A trial will give us the opportunity to know the real events of the situation in Guatemala and the brutal oppression that hasn’t subsided since” according to Carlos Colson, nephew of the murdered Walter Voordeckers.

Furthermore they also want to perpetrators to answer to their actions and to be prosecuted and sentenced for these crimes.

“This is an important step to more justice for our loved ones, but it’s also a real sign of support for the Guatemalan population” says Johan Capiau, brother of Ward Capiau, who was murdered at a military traffic stop en whose body was never found.

Last and not least, the families want to show their solidarity with the many Guatemalan victims during the civil war and after.

“Bringing the truth to light and requiring the perpetrators to explain themselves, enables the efforts and sacrifice of our killed family members with the Guatemalan people to remain meaningful.” Stefaan Berten, brother of the disappeared Serge Berten.

Justice at last in sight in the case of the murdered and disappeared

On 17 May 2022, the Brussels’ Council Chamber will meet to review the investigation into the murder and kidnapping of Belgian religious persons in Guatemala. The facts date back more than 40 years.  The surviving relatives are still counting on justice.

Because crimes against humanity never die: not in Belgium, not in Guatemala.

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