GUATEMALA CITY - A Guatemalan judge has rejected former dictator Efrain Rios Montt's claim that a 1986 amnesty law protects him against being tried on genocide charges.

Judge Miguel Angel Galvez says the amnesty law is invalid because of a 1949 international treaty against genocide that Guatemala signed long before the amnesty was declared.

Thursday's ruling appears to open the door to striking down amnesty for anyone accused of genocide related to the country's 36-year civil war, in which 200,000 people were killed.

Rios Montt took power in a 1982 coup and was toppled the following year. The charges relate to his alleged involvement in 1,771 deaths, 1,400 rights violations and the displacement of 29,000 indigenous Guatemalans