Ex-dictator of Guatemala takes stand in Maya genocide trial

Efrain Rios Montt, a former president and dictator of Guatemala, took the stand for the first time in his genocide trial.

Rios Montt accused of ordering massacres on two Mayan villages where 1,771 people -- mainly women, elders and children -- were killed. He denied that he intend to commit genocide.

“I declare myself innocent,” Rios Montt said in court as people applauded, the Associated Press reported. “It was never my intention or my goal to destroy a whole ethnic group.”

A verdict could come today, the AP said.

Get the Story:
Former dictator Rios Montt denies in court that he ordered genocide during Guatemala’s war (AP 5/9)

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