Rios Montt denies he ordered genocide

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt is denying he ordered the extermination of Ixil Mayas as he testifies for the first time at his genocide trial.

The 86-year-old ex-general says he never ordered attacks against “a race.”

He said Thursday he never did anything he is being accused of and that prosecutors haven’t proven his participation in the killings.

Rios Montt seized power in a March 23, 1982, coup, and ruled until he was overthrown just over a year later.

Prosecutors say that while in power, Rios Montt was aware of, and thus responsible for, the slaughter of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayas in the towns of San Juan Cotzal, San Gaspar Chajul and Santa Maria Nebaj in Guatemala’s western highlands.

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