In a judgment rendered today by the Honourable Mr. Justice Brian O’Ferrall, the Court of Appeal of Alberta denied Mr. Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes leave to appeal a decision issued on September 2, 2011, by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta ruling that Mr. Sosa Orantes could be extradited to the USA where he is wanted for immigration fraud.
Further to this decision, Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC) reiterates its call on Canada to ensure that the priority in the case of Mr. Sosa Orantes, a Guatemalan who also holds Canadian and US citizenship and who is presently detained in Calgary, be that he face justice in relation to his alleged participation in the Dos Erres massacre in Guatemala.
Between December 6 and 8, 1982, members of a specially trained counter-insurgency unit of the Guatemalan armed forces entered the village of Las Dos Erres, removed community members from their homes, gathered them together, and, after raping and torturing numerous women and children, killed virtually everyone in the community. The death toll reached more than 200.
In August 2011 and March 2012, Guatemalan courts rendered two historic decisions in which five ex-military members were convicted of crimes against humanity and each was condemned to more than 6,000 years of imprisonment for their participation in the Dos Erres massacre. Mr. Sosa Orantes is one of their co-accused.
The decision on whether Mr. Sosa Orantes will be extradited from Canada to the USA is now in the hands of the Minister of Justice. “Lawyers Without Borders strongly urges the Minister of Justice to assure the fullest measure of accountability in this case by making sure that Canada is carrying out an investigation with an eye toward Mr. Sosa Orantes’ prosecution in a Canadian court under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, said Mr. Paradis, LWBC’s Executive Director. “In the alternative, Canada should pursue an extradition option only if it results in Mr. Sosa Orantes facing charges commensurate with the crimes he allegedly committed. For the time being, only Guatemala’s extradition request would allow this. One last option would be for Canada to seek assurances from the USA that Mr. Sosa Orantes will be extradited back to Guatemala or Canada to face justice for the more important charges. The greatest interest of justice and the fight against impunity require no less”, concluded Mr. Paradis.