The alleged war criminal accused of helping carry out the massacre of more than 200 people in Guatemala, has been found guilty of citizenship fraud in the U.S.
Jorge Sosa Orantes, extradited to the U.S. last year from Calgary, is wanted in Guatemala for his suspected participation in the Dos Erres massacre as the purported commanding officer of a special patrol that carried out the killings, and was convicted Tuesday of two counts of citizenship fraud following a trial in Riverside, Calif.
While content to know he will live behind bars, Ramiro Osorio Cristales, one of two known survivors of the Dec. 7, 1982 massacre whose family were killed before his eyes, is unhappy Sosa is not paying for the alleged war crime.
“For me it was really hard, because I had to testify how everything happened in Dos Erres,” said Cristales, now a Canadian citizen.
“I was happy to see him in custody — I hope to see him in jail permanently.”
During the killings, some villagers were raped before being slain and others tossed alive down a well.
“I’m not happy because he is not paying for the crime — I hope we can get justice for being a participant in the massacre of Dos Erres,” Cristales said.
Sosa had come to Canada in 2010 after fleeing U.S. authorities investigating allegations he was a war criminal who lied to become a citizen.
U.S. officials said he provided false information by not disclosing he was a member of the Guatemalan military and denying he had ever committed a crime for which he had not been arrested.
He was arrested in Lethbridge in January, 2011 and was extradited from Calgary to the U.S. last year to face charges of making a false statement in a naturalization matter and unlawful procurement of naturalization.
The Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ), while pleased Sosa will face jail time with the conviction, is also disappointed he wasn’t tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity while in Canada.
“A trial on those charges could have provided real accountability for Sosa’s role in the massacre,” said CCIJ legal director Matt Eisenbrandt.
“The government of Canada missed an opportunity to stand for justice, particularly considering that Sosa is a Canadian citizen and that one of only two survivors of the massacre is a Canadian.
“Nonetheless, it is important that Sosa will have to serve jail time and could still face war crimes charges in the future.”
He said the CCIJ continues to call on the Canadian government to investigate whether Sosa’s citizenship should be revoked.
Sosa will be sentenced Dec. 9.
Cristales said he hopes after Sosa’s jail time he will be deported, either to Guatemala or back to Canada.
“I will be waiting for him,” he said.
Source: Katie Schneider, Calgary Sun, 1 October 2015,