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Guatemala ex-strongman's trial moved up to March

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February 20, 2013 05:54 PM EST | AP


GUATEMALA CITY — The planned start of the trial of former U.S.-backed Guatemalan strongman Jose Efrain Rios Montt has been moved up to March 19.

The general's defense team said Wednesday it is trying to delay the trial.

The tribunal overseeing the case had set Aug. 14 as the start of Rios Montt's trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in connection with the slaughter of at least 1,771 indigenous people during the country's brutal civil war. The tribunal did not offer details of the date change, other than saying it was trying to comply with its mission of providing swift and complete justice.