World

Trial of Guatemala's former strongman hears litany of horrors from witnesses

  • Guatemala's former dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt, right, talks with former Gen. Jose Rodriguez Sanchez before their trial on genocide charges in Guatemala City, Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Rios Montt, the first Latin American strongman to be tried on genocide charges in his own country, seized power in a March 23, 1982, coup, and ruled until he himself was overthrown just over a year later. Prosecutors say that while in power he was aware of, and thus responsible for, the slaughter by subordinates of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayas in San Juan Cotzal, San Gaspar Chajul and Santa Maria Nebaj, towns in the Quiche department of Guatemala's western highlands. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

    Guatemala's former dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt, right, talks with former Gen. Jose Rodriguez Sanchez before their trial on genocide charges in Guatemala City, Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Rios Montt, the first Latin American strongman to be tried on genocide charges in his own country, seized power in a March 23, 1982, coup, and ruled until he himself was overthrown just over a year later. Prosecutors say that while in power he was aware of, and thus responsible for, the slaughter by subordinates of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayas in San Juan Cotzal, San Gaspar Chajul and Santa Maria Nebaj, towns in the Quiche department of Guatemala's western highlands. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ixil Indian women attend the genocide trial of Guatemala's former dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt in Guatemala City, Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Rios Montt, the first Latin American strongman to be tried on genocide charges in his own country, seized power in a March 23, 1982, coup, and ruled until he himself was overthrown just over a year later. Prosecutors say that while in power he was aware of, and thus responsible for, the slaughter by subordinates of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayas in San Juan Cotzal, San Gaspar Chajul and Santa Maria Nebaj, towns in the Quiche department of Guatemala's western highlands. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

    Ixil Indian women attend the genocide trial of Guatemala's former dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt in Guatemala City, Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Rios Montt, the first Latin American strongman to be tried on genocide charges in his own country, seized power in a March 23, 1982, coup, and ruled until he himself was overthrown just over a year later. Prosecutors say that while in power he was aware of, and thus responsible for, the slaughter by subordinates of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayas in San Juan Cotzal, San Gaspar Chajul and Santa Maria Nebaj, towns in the Quiche department of Guatemala's western highlands. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)  (The Associated Press)

Witness have testified about a litany of horrors in the trial of Guatemala's former U.S.-backed military strongman, describing to judges the shelling of villages, beheadings and body parts kicked around like soccer balls.

After several days of testimony from women subjected to sexual violence, judges in the trial of Efrain Rios Montt heard Thursday from the victims of massacres, and from forensic experts.

Rios Montt is on trial along with his former head of intelligence in connection with the deaths of 1,771 Mayan Indians during the military dictatorship he led from March 23, 1982 to Aug. 8, 1983, during which he led a U.S.-backed counterinsurgency against leftist guerrillas.