GUATEMALA CITY, (Reuters) – Guatemalan President Otto Perez on Friday labeled as “a lie” testimony given during the trial of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt that implicated Perez in atrocities carried out by the military during the country’s 1960-1996 civil war.
Giving evidence at Rios Montt’s trial, a former army engineer said on Thursday that Perez commanded soldiers who burned down homes and killed unarmed civilians during a particularly bloody phase of the war.
“It’s a lie and I’m not going to comment on the lies they’re telling,” Perez, a retired general, told reporters.
The civil war pitted leftist insurgents against a series of right-wing governments. Some 200,000 people died in the conflict, many of them ethnic Maya, and another 45,000 disappeared.
The engineer was stationed in a violent region of Guatemala where Perez commanded troops during Rios Montt’s 1982-1983 rule.