IPI HomeEventsPanel DiscussionsCommission Head Speaks of Need to Combat Impunity in Guatemala

 

print print  |  share share back back


From left to right: Dr. Carlos Casteresana, the UN’s appointed head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG); Saúl Weisleder, IPI; George Vickers of the Open Society Institute; and Andrew Hudson of Human Rights.

Panel Discussions - Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Commission Head Speaks of Need to Combat Impunity in Guatemala

The head of a UN-mandated commission in Guatemala told an audience at IPI on Tuesday, July 7, 2009 that Guatemala’s economic elite has begun to understand the serious danger posed by international organized crime, and particularly narcotrafficking, and that the solution requires a stronger state capable of confronting it. Dr. Carlos Casteresana, the UN’s appointed head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), said this confrontation starts with a systematic head-on assault on impunity, employing the means of a modern state, which can also guarantee basic human rights and due process.

Dr. Castresana explained that CICIG’s strategy has been to start showing that nobody in Guatemala is above the law, and he mentioned various high profile cases that they have dealt with, in conjunction with the retrained and strengthened Guatemalan General Prosecutors’ Office. This has demonstrated to the people that they are complying with the mandate and responsibilities bestowed on them by the UN and the Guatemalan Nation.

Dr. Castresana also described the very weak situation of rule of law in Guatemala. The lack of independence for judges and members of the judiciary, insufficient training and objective and fair procedures for recruiting and maintaining public prosecutors and judges, as well as a serious lack of resources, including basic security in the middle of widespread operation by organized crime, has made this situation in Guatemala one of the contributing factors that has deepened the crisis of a historically weak state.

In spite of some reservations from the discussants and the attendees, based on Guatemala’s long history of unfulfilled promises and of other countries experiences, the Commissioner’s strong evidence, arguments and honest passion show definitive progress for a society that has lived in a social and political crisis for a long time, and needs other fundamental and sustained changes. 

In this respect, one of the conclusions of the forum was that leaving a well-trained team of every type of professionals to make rule of law a reality is certainly a necessary result to consolidate the achievements reached up to now.

-- Saúl Weisleder

 The forum “Confronting Organized Crime: Learning from the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG)” was chaired by Saúl Weisleder of IPI. George Vickers of the Open Society Institute and Andrew Hudson of Human Rights First were the discussants.

 

Slide show: Image 1 of 8
Photos by Don Pollard
Panelists and attendees at the event

 





The Global Observatory

Does World War I Echo in East Asia’s Growing Tensions?
Lessons of pre-WWI alliances, nationalism, and crises can help East Asia defuse its tensions today.

Key Global Events to Watch in October
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

October 27, 2014
Peacekeeping and the OSCE
In response to the crisis in Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deployed a Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of some 250 civilian international observers.

October 09, 2014
Rethinking Women and Forced Migration
The drastic increase in conflicts around the globe has seen the world’s displaced population pass 55 million people, and the fact that 80% of them are women and children is prompting many to rethink how the international community is responding.

October 09, 2014
Africa: China’s Second Continent
Speaking at an IPI Distinguished Author Series event on October 9th, author Howard French made a case for how Western underestimation of Africa’s economic promise has enabled China to establish an economic and human presence on the continent, leading to the permanent migration there of nearly 2 million Chinese.

View More