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Genocide Trial for Guatemala Ex-dictator Rios Montt Suspended — Again

FILE - Guatemala's ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt sits alone at his table during the 20th day of his trial in the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala City, April 18, 2013.

A retrial of former Guatemala dictator Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity was suspended again for the court to resolve outstanding legal petitions, a judge said Monday.

Rios Montt's opponents accuse him of a scorched earth policy in the bloodiest phase of the Central American country's 36-year-long civil war that ended in 1996.

A hearing Monday was held behind closed doors and Rios Montt did not attend because of "mental incapacity," according to the court. A trial one year ago was also suspended when the defense sought the removal of one of the judges on the case.

Also on trial is Jose Rodriguez, the former military intelligence director, who is accused, along with Rios Montt, of overseeing the slaughter of 1,771 members of the Maya Ixil population in the Quiche region of Guatemala in 1982 and 1983. Rios Montt was found guilty for his role in the killings in May 2013.

His 80-year jail sentence was thrown out less than two weeks later, however, by Guatemala's Constitutional Court on a legal technicality after persistent efforts by Rios Montt's defense team to derail the trial with complex appeals.