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
Building a Sustainable Future Requires Leadership from State and Citizen
A product of negotiations, the 17 SDGs may not be perfect, but they can serve as clear goals for popular movements, local communities, and all manner of networks.
Key Global Events to Watch in September
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.
September 22, 2014
Kevin Rudd, Former Australian PM, to Chair Independent Commission on Multilateralism
Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, will chair the newly launched Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM). The Commission will be co-chaired by Børge Brende, Foreign Minister of Norway, and John Baird, Foreign Minister of Canada.
September 19, 2014
Madani: Extremist Group Actions “Cannot be Associated with Any Religion”
Iyad Madani, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), reaffirmed at IPI the Muslim world’s commitment to religious tolerance and human rights and sought to distance Islam from the recent violent actions at the hands of extremist groups across Africa and the Middle East.
September 17, 2014
Abdullahi: To Be “At Peace with Itself,” Africa Needs to Address Structural Flaws
On September 17th, the African Union’s (AU) Commissioner for Political Affairs Aisha L. Abdullahi acknowledged that Africa had come a long way in its quest for democratic governance, but added that it would have to address the structural causes that often plunge it into conflict in order to “be at peace with itself, secure, and corruption-free.”