On May 6th, Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez, who presides over Guatemala’s High Risk Court B, indicted retired military and police officers Marco Antonio González Taracena, Víctor Augusto Vásquez Echeverria, Gustavo Adolfo Oliva Blanco, Juan Francisco Cifuentes Cano, José Daniel Monterroso Villagrán, Enrique Cifuentes de la Cruz, Rone René Lara, and Edgar Corado Samayoa for war crimes in the Death Squad Dossier (Diario Militar) case. These men were accused of assisting in the illegal detention of citizens, torture, causing forced disappearances, homicide, and sexual violence. These crimes, in total, involved over 195 victims. Judge Gálvez is also facing judicial persecution from an organization notorious for filing malicious lawsuits, the Foundation Against Terrorism, whose director, Ricardo Méndez Ruiz, was placed on the U.S State Department’s Engel List regarding corrupt individuals in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua for obstructing investigations last year.
Judge Gálvez has received multiple death threats after his rulings. The Supreme Court, which is required to respond to security issues facing judges, has failed to respond to Galvez’s report of threats made against him. The number of threats has escalated in recent months. Judge Gálvez reports being followed by men in a car without license plates; vehicles without license plates were notoriously used by death squads during the years of armed conflict.
On July 8th, the Inter-American Court ordered Guatemala to adopt urgent measures to protect the physical safety of Judge Gálvez and his family so Gálvez can perform his judicial duties free of external pressure and ensure justice for the victims in his cases.