By: Madhav Kumar
In Guatemala, a judge has accepted a guilty plea by the former head of security at central America’s nickel mine. He was on trial for killing an inland leader over human rights violation linked to Canadian-owned mining companies.
Mynor Padilla was found guilty of homicide for the past 2009 deadly shooting of Adolfo Ich who was a Maya Q’eqchi’ teacher and community leader who opposed the Fenix mine outside the town of El Estor. Transnational mining corporations, most of them Canadian with their personnel, and state security forces have been accused by human rights groups of a litany of abuses in Central America which include the killings of mine opponents.
Such type of prosecution was not heard earlier and people are not much aware of such rare, inhuman. Patricia Quinto, who represented Choc, a joint plaintiff in the trial has said that the verdict set an important precedent in the country. Att gives a mirror to those who are found to be guilty and indulges in such activities. The nickel mine had also earlier operated under other Canadian ownership during the country civil war between the military and leftist guerrillas. During the cold war, there is an estimation of a high level of fatalities which is approx 200,000 during the cold war. The mine has been on the radar for decades due to violence including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances during the civil war this data is as per the united nations back truth commission. The mine reopened amid the chaos with local protestors in 2014 and leads to horrifying murder and it is now owned by the Solway Group, a Russian conglomerate. In 2019, Guatemala’s constitutional court upheld a petition to suspend any kind of operation at the mine pending consultation with affected Indigenous communities. such a type of conviction sets an example that whosoever tries to damage human rights will be put on the bar.