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Guatemala court: former dictator can be tried on genocide charges, but not sentenced

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GUATEMALA CITY — A Guatemalan court says former dictator Efrain Rios Montt can stand trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity — but can't be sentenced because the 89-year-old suffers from dementia.

The court ruling announced Tuesday says the law allows for a special trial where all evidence and witnesses will be presented behind closed doors with a representative of Rios Montt. He can be found innocent or guilty, but will not receive a sentence because of his health conditions.

His lawyers have the option to appeal the ruling.

Rios Montt was convicted in 2013 and given 80 years for genocide and crimes against humanity committed during his dictatorship in 1982 and 1983 at the height of Guatemala's brutal civil war. The sentence was later thrown out.

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