During the 36-year-long Guatemalan civil war, indigenous women were systematically raped and enslaved by the military in a small community near the Sepur Zarco outpost. What happened to them then was not unique, but what happened next, changed history. From 2011 – 2016, 15 women survivors fought for justice at the highest court of Guatemala. The groundbreaking case resulted in the conviction of two former military officers of crimes against humanity and granted 18 reparation measures to the women survivors and their community.
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Sepur Zarco was the first case of conflict-related sexual violence challenged under Guatemala's penal code. It was also the first time that a national court anywhere in the world had ruled on charges of sexual slavery during an armed conflict-a crime under international law. In its path-breaking
“The soldiers broke my marriage,” a woman from Guatemala said. “They burned everything we had. We had nowhere to go. When we finished our shifts at the base, we were forced to provide food for the soldiers, to make tortillas and wash uniforms. For six years.”