CICIG - The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala
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        Photo note
At the forum "Young and Committed", Commissioner Iván Velásquez called upon the youth to join forces in fighting impunity.

PRESS RELEASE 026

WITNESS STATEMENTS AND EXPERT OPINIONS DEMONSTRATE CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY OF ACCUSED IN RIVERA CASE

Guatemala, April 20, 2011. The statements made at trial by the more than 30 witnesses and 15 expert witnesses have demonstrated the criminal responsibility of the ten individuals accused of murdering Víctor Rivera, a former advisor to the Ministry of the Interior.

A witness presented by the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) confirmed the ties between some of the accused individuals and Jorge Mario Paredes Córdova, alias "el gordo Paredes", an alleged mastermind of the Rivera crime. Another statement, provided by the former manager of the Las Verapaces petrol station, indicated that the Paredes Córdova family owned the business and that the accused Juan Antonio Vásquez (alias "Maco") was employed as an accountant.

Another witness confirmed Paredes Córdova as the owner of the Las Mercedes ranch in San José Pinula, where Werner Gómez Sandoval (alias "Lupe") lived—a potential perpetrator of the murder who is currently fugitive.

The expert medical opinions demonstrated the accuracy of the gun shots and the attackers' skills in killing Rivera as well as showing that the calibre of the cartridges coincided with the nine millimeter and 0.40 calibre firearms identified as those used to commit the crime.

A preliminary telephone report documented the calls made between the accused Cruz Magdaleno Reyes, Walter Ivanovich Monroy, Marleni Sosa, Juan Antonio Vásquez and Israel Betancourt Vela, as well as proving the intention to obstruct justice by changing the name of the owner (Vásquez) of the 9 millimeter weapon.

The analysis video camera footage demonstrated that a dark green pickup truck was parked for more than half an hour under a pedestrian footbridge close to a restaurant in Zone 15 where the victim was prior to the attack. That same vehicle monitored and then intercepted Rivera's car with the intention to kill him. Werner Gómez Sandoval (alias "Lupe") was in charge of the vehicle, which belonged to Aurelio Ruiz, another individual accused of being involved in the crime.

Investigations have demonstrated that César Augusto Paz, Israel Bethancourt, Aurelio Ruiz, Werner Gómez Sandoval and other individuals met at the residence of Jorge Mario Paredes in San José Pinula to plan the final details of the Rivera murder. It was also proven that Rubén Estuardo Rosales Sánchez, an accused individual who acted as the front man of Obdulio Mendoza, obstructed justice by concealing the actions of the accused individuals.

The investigations conducted by the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) demonstrated the structural make-up of the criminal structure that, under the command of Jorge Mario Paredes Córdova, allegedly murdered Rivera.

The trial of the accused individuals will continue on April 25 before the First High-Risk Trial Court.

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        About Guatemala
  The Republic of Guatemala, a mountainous country that lies in the Central American isthmus, has an estimated population of 13 million people.
  Guatemala won its independence in 1821, following almost three centuries of Spanish colonial rule.
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