GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA – This week, a man was convicted in a Guatemalan courtroom for sexually abusing his 10-year-old nephew, Ricardo*.
Last year, Doctors Without Borders referred Ricardo’s case to IJM. The staff collaborated with local authorities to ensure the suspect was arrested, and the proper evidence was secured for the trial.
A few days before the court issued the final verdict, Ricardo bravely chose to give his testimony. He answered questions in the Gesell Chamber, a private room in the court set up behind a two-way mirror so that the child does not have to face the suspect. Even though Ricardo was fidgety and visibly upset, he pressed on, recounting the abuse that he had suffered at the hands of his uncle.
“It was difficult, but [Ricardo’s testimony] allowed the judge to make the conviction,” explains one of IJM’s lawyers.
Ricardo’s family has been fractured by the painful abuse and the young boy continues to receive trauma-focused counseling. He is studying in school and says he wants to be a lawyer when he grows up.
“Ricardo, he is a fighter,” says IJM Guatemala social worker Delmi Ramirez. “He has a strong desire to move forward from here.”
*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this IJM client.