Canadian Citizen Arrested on War Crimes Charges

A naturalised Canadian and US citizen, wanted in Guatemala on charges of war crimes, has been arrested in Canada.

Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa, 52, is wanted in Guatemala for the killing of 251 men, women and children during the Central American nation’s civil war in the early 1980s.

Sosa, a karate expert, was arrested by 8 police officers but he was apparently compliant during his arrest.

Sosa is one of 17 men sought by the Guatemalan government for their alleged involvement in the commando unit responsible for the massacre at a village called Dos Erres in December 1982.

An indictment by the United States District Court for the Central District of California alleges that Sosa was the commanding officer of the special commando unit sent to the village.

“The special unit proceeded to systematically kill the men, women and children at Dos Erres, by among other methods, hitting them on the head with a sledgehammer and throwing them into a well,” reads the indictment.

“Members of the special patrol also forcibly raped many of the women and girls before killing them. Defendant Jorge Sosa participated in the crimes committed at Dos Erres, including but not limited to murder.”

A question which needs answering is how did a war crimes suspect manage to receive both US and Canadian citizenship?

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4 Responses to Canadian Citizen Arrested on War Crimes Charges

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  3. Catherine Thompson says:

    I would like to know if anything further has transpired re: Jorge Sosa. My understanding (according to a CBC radio story) is that if he is transfered to the US he cannot be tried for war crimes. But he can be tried in Canada or Spain. If he is responsible for these crimes he needs to charged and convicted although I have no doubt that many more will not meet justice, Canada should not be a safe haven for people like him.
    C. Thompson

    • iwcr says:

      Hello Catherine,
      Thanks for your question.
      Sosa was refused bail by a judge and will have another extradition hearing on the 20th April we believe.
      He is wanted in the US for the obviously much lesser crime of falsifying documents to obtain U.S. citizenship. The US has a very poor record of trying people for war crimes.
      However, if he is found guilty in the US he would be deported back to Guatamala, where he most decidedly would be tried of war crimes and would probably face execution.
      That is why he is fighting extradition. He obviously believes the prospect of being tried for war crimes in Canada and facing life in prison is better than whatever he would face in Guatamala.
      The crimes he is accused of are particularly sickening. He is accused of leading a special unit of soldiers who massacred a village of 250 people. The men were made to watch as the women were raped and then killed. The children were not spared.
      The main weapon of murder was a sledgehammer.
      We realise these details are horrific but we repeat them so the public realise how important it is for war crimes suspects to face trial.
      IWCR

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