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Apelaciones) confirms Beteta's sentence and upholds Judge Ellgutter's decision to foreclose further investigation on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to implicate the three military officers in the murder. The private prosecutor files an appeal to the Supreme Court (la Corte Suprema de Justicia) in which she challenges the lower court's decision. Perhaps fearful of implicating senior military officers, the state prosecutor does not join the appeal.11

February 9, 1994—Supreme Court reversal permits investigation of Beteta's superior officers. The Supreme Court reverses the lower court's decision to foreclose further investigation, holding that the private prosecutor's right to investigate fully all possible suspects responsible for the murder of Myrna Mack has been violated. The Supreme Court orders a military investigation of Beteta's three superior officers. The court also orders an investigation of the three other individuals in a civil proceeding.12

March 10, 1994—Superior officers deny knowledge of the crime. Gen. Godoy, Col. Valencia, and Lt. Col. Oliva petition the Constitutional Court (la Corte Constitucional), the highest court in the land for constitutional issues. They claim that the Supreme Court acted illegally in ordering an investigation into their alleged involvement in the Mack murder. The officers deny any knowledge of the murder.

March 18, 1994—Supreme Court denies private prosecutor's attempt to obtain classified Guatemalan documents. In an effort to gain access to documentary evidence from the National Ministry of Defense and the Presidential High Command, the private prosecutor formally requests an injunction. The Supreme Court denies the request. The private prosecutor files an appeal to the Constitutional Court seeking reversal of the Supreme Court's ruling. The private prosecutor argues that the requested documents contain critical evidence to prove the complicity of the superior officers in the Myrna Mack murder.

July 1, 1994—Guatemalan National Congress adopts new Criminal Procedure Code. All criminal cases for which the opening of the trial (aperatura de juicio) has not yet occurred are now to be tried under a new code. (A judge orders a trial to open when both plaintiff and defendant are satisfied that all evidence needed has been introduced in the proceedings.) Because a trial has not yet occurred in the proceedings against Beteta's superior officers, they are to be prosecuted under the new Criminal Procedure Code (the original case against Beteta

11  

The state prosecutor who prosecuted Beteta is not the state prosecutor, Mynor Melgar, who is currently prosecuting the three military officers accused of complicity in the Mack murder.

12  

The private prosecutor chose not to prosecute the case against del Cid, Larios, and Charchal, even though they were believed to have participated in the actual murder; she stated that it would be a more efficacious use of her time and resources to prosecute the military officers.



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