April 26, 2008 marked the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Bishop Juan José Gerardi Conedera. In Gerardi’s extensive career, he championed the rights of the indigenous and waged a vibrant campaign against the culture of violence that continues to obstruct the path towards peaceful reconciliation. Bishop Gerardi was the driving force behind the
Recovery of Historical Memory Project (REMHI), a Catholic Church-sponsored commission that sought to use Guatemalan collective memory in order to promote social reconstruction and political transparency. REMHI also catalogued the atrocities carried out by the Guatemalan military during the internal armed conflict (1960—1996), laying blame on the army for more than 90% of the abuses committed during the civil war. The REMHI Report was widely disseminated and its conclusions were validated by the United Nations Truth Commission.
Two days after the REMHI Report was released, Gerardi was brutally assassinated in his home. He was murdered for his commitment to human rights, his spirit, and his activism—but his death was not in vain. His trial led to unprecedented convictions of military officers and the legacy of his passion continues to drive activists, advocates and civic leaders alike. In conjunction with the 10th Anniversary of his assassination, GHRC held a bilingual memorial service in April 2008 to honor Bishop Gerardi.
Click here to access a detailed timeline of the life of Bishop Gerardi and the events surrounding his trial.