Guatemala Should Seek Renewal of UN-backed Anti-Impunity Commission
NEW YORK—The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala remains an “indispensable partner” in the country’s continuing battle against organized criminality and official corruption, the Open Society Justice Initiative said today, in a new review of the performance of the UN-backed body since it was set up in 2007.
The review—Unfinished Business—concludes by recommending that Guatemala’s president Otto Pérez Molina ask the United Nations for a further two-year extension for the commission, known by its Spanish acronym CICIG. Its current mandate expires in September.
The 9-page assessment states: “In the past eight years, CICIG has played a crucial role in Guatemala in strengthening state investigative and prosecutorial institutions, advancing paradigmatic corruption cases and the prosecution of powerful criminals, providing international support for much-needed legal reform, and strengthening—and even safeguarding— state institutions and the democratic system.”
CICIG was set up in 2007 to support the Guatemala’s Public Ministry, the National Police and other institutions in the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed by organized criminal enterprises with strong ties to political and security sector actors. It also works with other state institutions in other activities aimed at dismantling these groups.
James A. Goldston, executive director of the Justice Initiative, said:
“CICIG’s cooperation with the Guatemalan state has played a key role in strengthening the judicial system, and in developing Guatemala’s ability to investigate and prosecute complex criminal cases. The notable successes that Guatemala has achieved together with CICIG would have been unthinkable without this partnership.”
The commission is a unique joint effort of the United Nations and the Guatemalan government: it receives financial and technical support from the international community, and is led by international staff, but it operates within Guatemalan law and the Guatemalan court system. CICIG's two-year mandate has been extended three times since it was first established.