Guatemala: Operación Sofía

operación sofía_forensic architecture




THE EARTH SCORCHED: Environmental Violence and Genocide in the Ixil Territory – Guatemalan Civil War 1978-1984

Researcher for Forensic Architecture team led by Eyal Weizman and Paulo Tavares [2012-2013]

Forensic Architecture is currently collaborating with the human-rights organization CALDH — Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos — on the production of a set of cartographies to support evidentiary material in the trial of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt and his senior military staff to be held in the National Court of Guatemala in early 2013. FA will examine and synthesize new and existing information into a series of time-based cartographies in order to trace the intersections between military operations, population displacement/relocation, and transformations in the urban, agricultural and forest areas of the Ixil Triangle during the most violent period of the conflict (1979-1984), with particular attention to the years of the Rios Montt dictatorship (1982-1983). The investigation assembles a set of data covering the entire territorial extension of the Ixil Triangle and data extracted from the war logs of Operation Sofia, a military campaign involving a series of army patrols and units in the region of the city of Nebaj during July-August 1982. Although it covers only part of the military operations that were taking place in the Ixil Triangle, in a limited area and for a short time span, OS is important evidence because it registers traces of the systematic and indiscriminate violence against civilians that characterized the state’s counter-insurgency strategy in this particular period, and also demonstrates that those actions on the ground followed a rigid chain of command that reached senior military and political officers who responded directly to the de facto president Rios Montt.




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