Guatemala's highest court has ordered that the genocide trial of one of the Central American country's former dictators be taken over by a judge who wants to annul the proceedings.

A spokesman for the Constitutional Court, Martin Guzman, said Tuesday that the case against former dictator Efrain Rios Montt now goes back to a judge who last week ordered that the proceedings start over at a point before the retired general was charged with genocide.

The 86-year-old Rios Montt is accused of responsibility for the deaths of 1,771 Mayan Indians during the military dictatorship that he headed from March 1982 to August 1983 as part of a U.S.-backed "scorched earth" campaign aimed at wiping out support for leftist guerrillas