Press Release

IACHR Expresses its Concern over Guatemala's Decision to not Renew the Mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG)

September 4, 2018

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expresses its deep concern over the decision of the Guatemalan Government to not renew the mandate of CICIG. The term of the agreement has been successively extended, with its last extension beginning on September 4, 2017 and ending on September 3, 2019, according to this recent decision.

Since the beginning of the activities of CICIG in 2007, the IACHR expressed its support for this initiative and recognized its transcendental role in the fight against corruption in Guatemala through the dismantling of criminal networks and organized crime structures together with the Public Prosecutor's Office, as well as in the support in the training and promotion of legal reforms tending to a greater efficiency of justice, according to its mandate. Over time, the investigations carried out showed the possible involvement of senior officials of the three branches of government and other actors in the country in unlawful acts of corruption, whose judicial proceedings are still pending of resolution.

The IACHR had already expressed its support for the work of CICIG in the fight against impunity and corruption in Guatemala and its alarm at the declaration of persona non grata and expulsion of the CICIG Commissioner, Ivan Velázquez, by the Guatemalan government (Press Release 127/17 of August 27, 2017). It also issued Resolution No. 1/17 on human rights and fight against impunity and corruption, in which it focused on the situation in Guatemala and the importance of the transparency of government activities and the subjection of the exercise of power to the Rule of Law.

The IACHR reiterates the fundamental importance of the fight against corruption to guarantee the effective enjoyment of human rights and an independent and impartial justice (Resolution No. 1/18 of March, 2018). In this context, the IACHR highlights the importance of establishing protection measures for justice operators and investigators that guarantee the ability to carry out their work without being victims of threats, intimidation and other acts against their life and physical integrity. It also highlights the work of human rights defenders in the fight against corruption and the obligation of States to guarantee the security conditions for the performance of their work.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 196/18