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
Year in Review: Top 10 Peace and Security Reads
The International Peace Institute and its Global Observatory offered research and analysis on a range of topics in peace and security in 2014.
Key Global Events to Watch in December
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.
December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.
December 12, 2014
Effective Governance Key to Africa’s Rise
Good governance is the key to Africa’s rise, but structural challenges are pulling the continent back, according to a new report launched at a December 12th IPI policy forum entitled “Effective Governance in Challenging Environments.”
December 09, 2014
Small States in a Multilateral World
Despite their size and limited resources, small states have an important and crucial role to play in the multilateral system and can leverage their power through cooperation.
September 25, 2014
IPI Remembers Margaret Vogt