A court in Guatemala City blamed Santos López on Wednesday for the deaths of 171 of the 201 people killed. The court imposed 30 years imprisonment on each fatality and added another 30 years in prison for further crimes.
By calculation, this results in 5160 years in prison. The sentence is merely symbolic, especially as there is an upper limit of 50 years for prison sentences in Guatemala.
The carnage in the village of Dos Erres was one of the worst massacres during the decades-long civil war in Guatemala. Soldiers in search of rifles captured by guerrilla fighters killed nearly all the inhabitants of the village in the north of the country in December 1982. The massacre was perpetrated during the reign of military ruler Efraín Ríos Montt, who died in April this year.
Because of the massacre, in 2011 and 2012, five ex-soldiers were sentenced to terms of more than 6,000 years each. The now convicted Santos López, a former member of the special unit Kaibil, was delivered to Guatemala in 2016 by the US. In the civil war between 1960 and 1996 between the army and left-wing guerrillas in the Central American country, according to the report of a truth commission, about 200,000 people were killed or disappeared.