Sara Holmgren

Location: Barcelona, Spain
Nationality: Swedish
Biography: After graduating in Political Sciences in Umeå, Sweden, self-employed documentary photographer Sara Holmgren left Sweden to work as an international observer with The Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation (SweFOR) in collaboration with... MORE
Public Story
Copyright Sara Holmgren 2023
Updated Feb 2021
Topics CAI, Creompaz, Documentary, Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo, Guatemala, Photography

In recent years, Guatemala is facing both the challenges of the present and the crimes of the past. The institutionalized political corruption is being fought and those responsible for crimes against humanity committed during the internal armed conflict (1960-1996) are being judged, a conflict that in addition to 200,000 deaths left 45,000 victims of enforced disappearance. This is the context where the "Creompaz case" is located.

Between 2012 and 2015, the remains of 565 people were exhumed at the Creompaz site (Regional Peace Operations Training Command), formerly known as military zone No. 21, José Antonio de Irisarri. The investigations of the skeletons show that the previously disappeared were illegally detained and taken to the area between 1981 and 1988 to be tortured, murdered and buried.

With the forensic reports in hand, in January 2016 several arrests were made of former members of the military high command, responsible for the military base in the years of the events. Of 22 requests for detention, today only eight are detained and linked to the process. The majority of the accused remain fugitives from justice. Among them is the former deputy Edgar Ovalle Maldonado, founder of the party of the current president, who until recently enjoyed immunity for being a deputy of the congress. After a series of maneuvers, he managed to flee Guatemala and today he is wanted by Interpol.

The Creompaz case is surrounded by distorted information to take away the credibility of the human rights organizations that represent the relatives of the disappeared and suffers significant delays due to delaying maneuvers.

Creompaz is a unique case in the field of enforced disappearances for three reasons: it is the largest clandestine cemetery in the world found within a military base; several members of the military high command are being tried at the same time; and the trials are carried out in national territory.

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