Judge in Guatemala's Rios Montt case to be investigated

Guatemala City, Apr 28 (EFE).- The judge presiding over the trial of retired Guatemalan Gen. Efrain Rios Montt will be investigated for abuse of authority and violating the constitution, a high-level official said.

Judge Jazmin Barrios will be investigated at the request of attorney Francisco Garcia, Supreme Court Criminal Chamber chief justice Mynor Franco told reporters.

Garcia filed a complaint against the judge for abuse of authority for removing him from the case when the trial against Rios Montt, who governed Guatemala from 1982-1983, and his former military intelligence chief, Jose Rodriguez, started.

Rios Montt was left without an attorney and Barrios made Rodriguez's defense team temporarily take over the case.

The 86-year-old Rios Montt and the 67-year-old Rodriguez are accused in the deaths of 1,771 Ixil Indians between March 1982 and August 1983.

The trial, which began March 19, marked the first time any Guatemalan ruler has been called to account for the massacres and atrocities of the country's 1960-1996 civil war.

Rios Montt presided over the bloodiest phase of a conflict that claimed more than 200,000 lives. Most of the dead were Indian peasants slaughtered by the army and its paramilitary allies.

The court has heard from survivors who saw soldiers carry out horrific atrocities.