Guatemala to open war archives

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Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has ordered the release of military archives from the country's brutal civil war in a bid to shed light on human rights abuses during the period.

Colom ordered the release on Monday during ceremonies held to mark the conflict, which left around 200,000 people dead or "disappeared" from 1960 to 1996.

"We are going to make public all military archives ... so the truth can be known, and so that once and for all we can build on truth and justice," Colom said.

The move was praised by victims' families, who had urged the move to find clues as to the whereabouts of relatives.

The documents will be reviewed by a panel which will decide which papers should be declassified under a constitutional requirement that state material be made public automatically unless their release compromises national security.

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