Guatemalan Women Testify of Army's Sexual Abuse During Civil War

A historic legal case is taking place for women survivors seeking justice for sexual violence during the armed conflict in Guatemala.

From September 24 to 28, 15 women part of the Qeqchi' indigenous group testified before a national court in Guatemala City - testifying to the rape and sexual slavery they underwent at the hands of military personnel during the conflict.

The testimony is the first time in Guatemala's history that women who survived sexual violence have testified and asked a national court for justice for these crimes. The case is setting a precedent worldwide, by being the first case in which rape and sexual slavery as a war crime is being tried in a national rather than an international court.

Charges have been brought against 37 members of the military in Guatemala.

Many were killed and over 45,000 were forcibly disappeared during Guatemala's armed conflict between 1960-1996. The conflict significantly impacted the indigenous population in the highlands. Guatemala's truth commission has found the army guilty of over 90 percent of deaths, as well as found that one out of four of the victims of human rights abuses were women. Many women survived sexual violence and were forcibly kidnapped as slaves.


‘I don’t want to die without seeing justice’: Sexual Slavery During Guatemala’s Armed Conflict, Center for International Policy America's Program, 17 October 2012.

"Guatemalan Women Testified Before A National Court for Sexual Slavery and Rape During The Armed Conflict," Alianza Rompiendo el Silencio, 3 October 2012.

"Army's Former Sex Slaves Testify in Guatemala," IPS, 28 September 2012.

"Army Records Spur Hopes for Justice," IPS, 11 December 2009.


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The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict
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