Is it ever too late for justice?

16 years ago, nearly all of the inhabitants of the Guatemalan village Dos Erres were massacred by government soldiers. Overnight, the village disappeared, and no one knew–or was willing to say–what had happened to it. Now, thanks to the work of a small group of human rights workers and public prosecutors, the details of this atrocity are being brought to light. Two soldiers who were present at the massacre have come forward, at great risk to themselves, to tell the truth of what happened at Dos Erres. Their testimony is leading to the arrest and trial of government and military leaders involved in the massacre–a taste of justice that is essentially without precedent in Guatemala.

Last week, the radio show This American Life highlighted this tragic but ultimately hopeful story. Not only do we hear from the investigators, the soldiers, and one of the very few survivors of the massacre at Dos Erres, but we are invited to ask ourselves whether justice has an expiration date. After enough time has passed, is it best to avoid re-opening old wounds that have begun to heal? Can there really be healing without truth and accountability? Is it ever to late to realize justice?

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