Guatemala asks Interpol to watch out for war crimes suspect

Congressman and retired Colonel Edgar Ovalle (R), accused of crimes against humanity during the 1960-1996 civil war, is seen during a session in the Guatemalan Congress, in Guatemala City on August 2, 2016

Guatemala on Saturday asked Interpol to be on the lookout for a lawmaker accused of war crimes dating back to its 1960-1996 civil war.

The request was made in case Edgar Ovalle, a deputy for the ruling National Convergence Front, has left the country, prosecutors said. A warrant for his arrest was issued Friday by a Guatemalan court.

Prosecutors accused Ovalle a year ago of belonging to a group of retired military officers responsible for the forced disappearances and massacres of indigenous civilians between 1981 and 1986.

Guatemala's 36-year war between government troops, left-wing rebels and right-wing vigilante groups left an estimated 200,000 people dead or missing, according to the United Nations.

A lower court refused to lift the immunity Ovalle enjoys as a lawmaker so he could face the charges. But the Supreme Court overturned that ruling Wednesday, saying sufficient evidence exists against the legislator.

Ovalle has not attended any sessions in Guatemala's congress for the past month because he is sick, said fellow lawmaker Javier Hernandez. But Hernandez said he did know where Ovalle is now.

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