Guatemala rejects OAS report on border dispute shooting

Wants IACHR to conduct new probe

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

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BELMOPAN, Belize (CMC) – Guatemala says it wants the Inter-American Human Rights (IACHR) Court to investigate the shooting death of a Guatemalan teenager earlier this year after rejecting an investigation carried out by the Organisation of American States (OAS).

Guatemala had originally asked the OAS to carry out the probe into the incident that had threatened to escalate its border dispute with Belize.

But earlier this week, President Jimmy Morales said that his country "categorically" rejected the report claiming that for the report to be conclusive "it should have criminal implications for those responsible".

The 22-page report by the OAS followed a decision by both countries that have had a long-standing border dispute for the hemispheric body to probe the April 20th killing of 14-year-old Julio Rene Alvarado Ruano.

His father and brother were also injured during the incident that occurred within the Adjacency Zone administered by Belize.

Following the incident Guatemala, which has laid claim to parts of Belize, sent its troops along the Sarstoon River escalating the tensions between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales now says his country does not accept the OAS report and will embark on a campaign to ensure the matter is investigated by the IACHR.

"They do not have the proper training and above all they don’t have the psychological training that the firing of a weapon should be the last option. You should fire a weapon when you don’t have any other choice. There were many options prior to that, such as subduing the farmers and in this case, the two children and their father.

"The military and the members of the NGO that acts like a paramilitary could have done that if the threat was so great. Unfortunately, it has happened and that has been their behaviour and Guatemala is having no more of that.

"We will take this case to the Inter-American Human Rights Court; they will hear this case and we have also contacted other human rights commissions of the world because we cannot allow this to continue happening to us."

The foreign minister said that if Guatemala does "not stop this type of behaviour, they will continue killing our villagers in the adjacency zone.

"If we do not put a stop to this, they will continue killing our people. Apart from the existing dispute, which is a separate matter, the least that we ask is respect for one another," he added.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow, said the OAS report is a clear vindication of the country and that it exposed "the falsity of the position taken by their president, taken by their foreign minister and taken by their officials.

"So I am hoping that they will be mature enough to accept that they were wrong; that the allegations that they made against the BDF were utterly unjustified, and that they owe Belize an apology," he added.

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