Life Sciences lecturer Gillian Fowler could be called to testify in the trial of the former military ruler of Guatemala.

The trial against Efrain Rios Montt for genocide and crimes against humanity began in Guatemala City on Tuesday, 19 March.

During Mr Rios Montt’s 17-month rule in the 1980s, more than 1,700 indigenous people are thought to have been killed.

Gillian worked as a as a forensic anthropologist for six years at the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG), producing many forensic reports for the Guatemalan Prosecutors Office.

During this time she was the laboratory coordinator, then, identification coordinator, where she was responsible for developing identification procedures using DNA profiles. In Guatemala, Gillian worked on more recent criminal cases, both in the morgue and at outdoor crime scenes, and in mass disaster victim recovery, analysis and identification.

She may be called to give evidence as part of the trial, which the UN says is the first time a former head of state has faced a national court for such crimes.

The former general denies the charges. The trial is expected to last months.