Guatemala Wants to Reopen Investigation into Death of Minor in the Chiquibul

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Updated: February 27, 2017

Guatemalan authorities are hoping to hear from the Belize Government shortly on the request they made to have the investigation reopened into the death of 14-year-old, Julio Rene Alvarado Ruano which occurred in April 2016.  The minor was with his father, Carlos Alvarado and his 11-year-old brother when an exchange of gunfire ensued between them and members of the Belize Defence Force.  The Organization of American States had overseen an independent investigation into the matter by experts James Namby and Patricia Trujillo; an investigation that was rejected by Guatemala.  The outcome noted that the BDF soldiers fired shots after coming under attack.  A report was submitted to both countries on the outcome but Guatemala is saying that the investigation was not conclusive, noting that there was a lack of documents and photographs.  They also noted that while Belize said the victim received 15 high-powered bullets, there was no scientific backing and Guatemala is saying there were fourteen and not fifteen.  The Guatemalans also noted that the trio was five hundred and sixty two metres from the Belize side and the report is yet to produce a weapon used by the victim and his family.  According to a Guatemalan newspaper, the Guatemalan Government has requested a new investigation but the only way that can be done is if both countries agree to it. The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry has submitted their request to re-open the investigation to the OAS.  They have also sent the request to Belize’s embassy in Guatemala but a response has not been forthcoming.  According to the report, a request was also sent to the office of Belize’s Director of Public Prosecutions.  Since this incident, Guatemala pulled out its Ambassador to Belize, Estuardo Roldan as a sign of protest.  The embassy in Belize, however has remained opened with a staff on duty.  The Alvarado family is being advised by the Mutual Support Group; they have filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights but Belize is not a member of the commission.