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Introduction THE COMMITTEE AND THE MYRNA MACK CASE The C ommittee on Humar1 Rights (CHR) 0 fthe National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Eng~neenug (NAE), and Institute of Medicine (IOM) was created In 1976 to gain the release of unjustly impnsoned scientists, engineers, arid health professionals worldwide whose basic human nghts, as rec- ognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, have been severely violated by their governments. (A full description of the committee cart be found in Appendix A.) Most of the committee's cases involve colleagues who are in jail or who have recently disappeared arid may still be alive. However, because so marry colleagues in Latin America were ei- ther killed outnght or killed after abduction and torture, solely for having peacefully expressed their ideas, in the late 1980s the committee began to develop lists of such cases, to register protests with the governments involved, and to ask that those responsible for their deaths be brought to justice. ~ Guatemala, the CHR has never had a case of an unjustly impnsoned colleague—only those of colleagues who are being threatened, have disappeared, or are murdered.
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2 HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MACH CASE The CHR has worked on the case of Guatemalan anthropol- og~st Myrna Elizabeth Mack Chang since shortly after she was stabbed to death In 1990 as she was leaving her office at the Asso- ciation for the Advancement of the Social Sciences (AVANCSO) in Guatemala City. Myrna Mack had been doing research on and writing about the unjust treatment of the internally displaced peo- ple in Guatemala, and she was murdered two days after a report for which she was principal researcher, Assistance and Control: Poli- cies Toward Internally Displaced Populations ir' Guatemala, was published by Georgetown University Press. Myrna Mack, who earned a master's degree in an~ropol- ogy in England at the University of Manchester, was a consultant to the ~ter-Amencan Commission on Human Rights arid had aca- demic ties with several universities in the United States, including Georgetown University and the University of California at Berke- ley. . ..0 Background information on the CHR's work In Guatemala can be found In two of its previous publications, Scientists arid Human Rights ir' Guatemala: Report of a Delegation (National Academy Press, 1992), which describes the findings of the CHR missions to Guatemala in 1991 arid 1992; and The Myrna Mack Case: An Update (National Academy Press, 1998), which pro- vides a history of He legal proceedings that brought to trial the military officer now convicted of planning and ordenng the mur- der. Both publications are available from the CHR or on its web- site: nationalacademies.org/pga (Committee on Human Rights/ Reports Archive). These CHR reports are supplemented by subse- quent reports by the Lawyers' Committee on Human Rights (avail- able from the LCHR at www.Ichr.org). An infonnative summary of the situation in Guatemala that existed during He latter part of the civil war and events that followed the murder of Myrna Mack has been provided by Rachel Garst, consultant and U.S. representa- tive of the Guatemalar1 nonprofit organization, S eguridad en De- mocracia (see Appendix B).
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INTRODUCTION 3 The initial police report on Myma Mack's murder provided evidence that it was politically motivated, and the report implicated military intelligence officers. The policeman who did the investi- gation and wrote the report was murdered in front of his family, in August 1991, shortly before he was to give testimony before the Inter-Amencan Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. The report identified a former employee of the Intelligence Branch of the Presidential High Command (Noe! de Jesus Beteta Alvarez) as a suspect In the murder of Myrna Mack; he then fled the country. Beteta was apprehended in Cali- fo~a and extradited to face the charges in Guatemala City. He was convicted in February 1993 and sentenced to 25 years in pnson, as well as 5 additional years for an unrelated incident. At that trial the judge rejected the prosecution's petition to leave open the proceedings against the alleged "intellectual authors" of the cnme, who were three military officers: General Edgar Augusto Godoy Gaitan, Colonel Juan Valencia resorb, and Colonel Juan Gu~lermo Oliva Carrera. However, they were subsequently ~n- dicted in June 1996. Over the years, the CHR and many members of the NAS, NAE, and TOM have sent hundreds of letters to the gove~nent of Guatemala urging that it bring to justice the people responsible for Myma Mack's death, including the intellectual authors of the crime. The CHR's chair and staff members met with successive Guatemalan ambassadors to the United States to express the com- m~ttee's concern. At venous times, the chair and staff also met with individuals at He U.S. Department of State to learn more about He murder and to emphasize Bat any evidence of which they were aware that could shed light on the case be shared with the Mack family. CHR representatives first met with the Mack family, in- cluding Myoma Mack's teenage daughter Lucrecia He~nandez Mack and her sister Helen Mack at their home in Guatemala City in
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HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MACK CASK 1992; they have remained in close contact with Helen, who has acted as private prosecutor in her sister's case. The CHR twice brought Helen Mack to Washington. In 1996 she spoke about her sister's case at a symposium on human nghts, "Challenges in Sci- ence and Human Rifts; Past, Present, and Future," held during the NAS annual meeting. Two years later, the CHR arranged for her to meet with individuals at the U.S. Department of State about the need for specific information, of which they might be aware, to help her in prosecuting her sister's case. As an articulate spokes- woman regarding her sister's case and the overall human rights situation in Guatemala, H elen M ack h as b ecome a figurehead in the continuing struggle for human rights progress in Guatemala. CHR MISSIONS TO GUATEMALA . . The CHR has sent three missions to Guatemala since Myrna places murder. During the first one in 1991, representa- tives attended the inauguration of a major human rights program organized by the University of San Carios and assessed whether a more ambitious mission should be undertaken. In response to the conclusion that a second mission should be undertaken, five Cow representatives went to Guatemala for a week in 1992. That sec- ond mission had five objectives: to assess the human rights situa- tion of scientific colleagues; to bring attention to the cases of col- lea~es who had been murdered for political reasons or who had been abducted and never reappeared (with a particular emphasis on Myrna Mack); to meet with Guatemalan officials; to lend support to the courageous efforts of the Mack family to bring to justice those responsible for the planning and execution of the murder of Myrna Mack; and, it was hoped, to bring a measure of protection to other vulnerable arid threatened colleagues. The Bird mission was undertaken in September 2002 by Mary Jane West-Eberhard, an evolutionary biologist who is a
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INTRODUCTION s member of the NAS, and Morton Parush, a chemist who is a mem- ber of both the NAS and the NAE. The terms of reference for the mission, which were sent to Guatemalan officials in advance, are presented in the box on page 6. The objectives of the third mission included attending a portion of the trial of the three former m~li- tary officers accused of ordering the murder of Myrna Mack. West-Eberhard and Panish spent the week of September 9-13, 2002, in Guatemala City. This was the second week of the trial, and they attended the fifth through the eighth days. West-Eberhard and Parrish spent IS hours observing the trial dunng the approxi- mately 26 hours it was in session during their visit. For the parts of the trial that they did not attend, they have included in their m~s- sion summary infonnation gleaned from daily updates written by the Washington Office on Lat~n America (WOLA), the My~na Mack Foundation, and members of the press. In addition to attending the teal, West-Eberhard and Panish carried out several over activities (listed in Appendix C) to better understand the context of the trial and the current situation and po- litical clunate In Guatemala that may affect the well-be~ng of the Cows scientific colleagues there. They also wished to show soli- darity with these colleagues dunug Me critical and sometimes dan- gerous penod In which the tnal took place. .
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6 HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MACK CASE Terms of Reference for Delegation of the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (RAE), and Institute of Medicine (IOM) to Guatemala Dr. Morton Panish, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, and He National Academy of Engineenng, USA, and Mary Jane West-Eberhard, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, are representatives of the Committee on Human Rights of the NAS, MAE, IOM who were asked to travel to Guatemala City, Guatemala on September 8-14, 2002, on behalf of the committee. Their visit has seven objectives: (1) to attend as observers the second phase of the trial related to the September 11, 1990, murder of a scientific colleague, sociologist Myrna Elizabeth Mack Chang; (2) to demonstrate by their presence the importance that the CHR attaches to the completion of this Dial in a fair and just manner, in accordance m~ international law, - . .+ J (3) to discuss with goverrunent authorities in Guatemala the CHR's concern about the physical safety of colleagues in science, engineering, and health care whose work has a human rights dimension, (4) to meet with scientists and scholars and visit academic research arid education centers to establish closer personal ties and gain a better understanding of the work of scientific colleagues and the circumstances under which it is conducted; (5) to learn how members of the international scientific community might assist their colleagues in Guatemala to carry out their work in a safe and secure environment; (63 to present what they learn during their visit to the officers and members of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine; and (7) to prepare a report on their visit for distribution to interested individuals and organizations in the United States and abroad.
Representative terms from entire chapter: