Former Guatemalan dictator can't be charged

  • 26/08/2015
Efrain Rios Montt (Reuters)
Efrain Rios Montt (Reuters)

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt can stand trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity - but can't be sentenced because the 89-year-old suffers from dementia, according to a court's decision.

The court ruling on Tuesday said the law allows for a special trial where all evidence and witnesses will be presented behind closed doors with a representative of Rios Montt.

It says he can be found innocent or guilty, but will not receive a sentence because of his health conditions.

His lawyers have the option to appeal the ruling.

The court set the trial date for January 11, 2016.

The court determined Rios Montt suffers from dementia following an evaluation by a panel of 10 doctors.

Rios Montt was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 80 years for genocide and crimes against humanity during his dictatorship in 1982 and 1983 at the height of Guatemala's brutal civil war.

The sentence was later thrown out.