PRESS RELEASE 023
ERWIN SPERISEN CONVICTED
Guatemala, 6 June 2014. The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) believes the judgement handed down today by the Geneva Criminal Court sentencing former Chief of the National Civil Police (PNC) of Guatemala Erwin Sperisen to life in prison to be of great importance. The Court found Sperisen guilty of murdering seven inmates in 2006, in a case known nationally and internationally as Pavón Case.
The Geneva Criminal Court, composed of seven judges, heard the criminal proceedings, where all parties presented their evidence, arguments and conclusions. During the trial, the Court analyzed reports, videos, photographs, expert witness opinions and testimony and, based on all of these elements, concluded that extrajudicial executions undoubtedly had taken place in Guatemala. The Court also concluded that the executions were committed by groups of individuals who, at the time of the facts, were active security officials in the country and that Sperisen was involved in seven of these executions.
On these grounds, the Court concluded that Sperisen was an accomplice in six murders (Luis Alfonso Zepeda González, Jorge Eduardo Batres Pinto, Mario Misael Castillo, Carlos René Barrientos Vásquez, Gustavo Correa Sánchez and Erick Estuardo Mayorga Guerra) and the perpetrator of the murder of José Abraham Tiniguar Guevara.
CICIG welcomes the efforts undertaken by the Swiss justice system and expresses its thanks for the contributions made by numerous national and international institutions and individuals, who collaborated in the proceedings despite the high risks brought by doing so.
In this regard, CICIG welcomes the judgement issued by the Court, which it considers to be an important contribution to respect for human rights. It is also a clear message that nobody is above the law, in particular public officials who are obliged to uphold the Constitution and obey the law. The fact security officials were responsible for the deaths of these individuals makes the facts especially egregious, as considered by the Court in imposing the sentence.
The fight against impunity and the establishment of rule of law are bolstered by this decision and the Commission reaffirms its commitment to continuing to do everything possible to achieve further progress in this regard.