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Published by: Harvard Kennedy School
Published in: 1989
Length: 5 pages

Abstract

The disappearance and death of two political activists in the Guatemalan city of Quetzaltenango becomes unusual and dramatic when it leads, seemingly against all odds, to the jail terms for police convicted in the slayings. This case tells the story of how a legal system operates in a context of rampant political violence and raises the question of whether the convictions in this case should be seen as a hopeful sign of an independent judiciary taking root or as just another symptom of political pressure - specifically foreign demands for an end to human rights abuses. The case also provides students of international legal forms information on the workings of a jurisprudential system rooted not in English but Spanish civil law.

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Abstract

The disappearance and death of two political activists in the Guatemalan city of Quetzaltenango becomes unusual and dramatic when it leads, seemingly against all odds, to the jail terms for police convicted in the slayings. This case tells the story of how a legal system operates in a context of rampant political violence and raises the question of whether the convictions in this case should be seen as a hopeful sign of an independent judiciary taking root or as just another symptom of political pressure - specifically foreign demands for an end to human rights abuses. The case also provides students of international legal forms information on the workings of a jurisprudential system rooted not in English but Spanish civil law.

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