Mack was stabbed to death in the historical center of the city four days after a group of Mayan community representatives presented a report that documented the displacement of thousands of indigenous Guatemalans as a result of ongoing military repression at the time.
Months earlier, Mack had published a study called “¿Dónde está el futuro?” (“Where is the future?”), based on her anthropological fieldwork of the brutal consequences for indigenous communities of the state’s military campaign. In 1993, military specialist Noel de Jesús Bateta was convicted of committing the actual murder.Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez recently told journalists that three member of the former National Police, Julio David López, José Miguel González Grijalva and Alberto Barrios Rabanales, will stand trial on charges including conspiracy to commit Mérida's murder. Prosecutors allege the he was killed to disrupt the investigation in Mack's murder. The men who allegedly killed Mack pleaded guilty but were later released on a reversal. One died and the other has since disappeared.
In other legal developments,
Guatemala’s Court for High-Risk Crimes ruled that charges would be brought against two members of the Army for sexual slavery and domestic slavery against q’eqchís women in the military outpost of Sepur Zarco, and other serious crimes perpetrated in the framework of the government counterinsurgency policies during the armed conflict.
At the public hearing, Judge Miguel Angel Galvez ruled that there is sufficient evidence to open a trial against Colonel Esteelmer Reyes Girón, former chief of the Sepur Zarco military outpost, and Heriberto Valdéz Asij, former military commissioner in the region.
Reyes will be tried for the crimes against humanity of sexual violence and sexual slavery, domestic slavery, and the assassination of Dominga Coc and her two young daughters on the base. Valdez will face charges for the crimes against humanity of sexual violence and forced disappearance.The reversal of the Rios Montt trial was clearly a setback for the cause of justice in Guatemala. So has the recent election of judges and related scandals. Those events make the recent announcements that trials will go forward in the Mack and Sepur Zarco case all the more remarkable.