ITUC urges Guatemala to keep UN Commission Against Impunity

photo: Photo: Facebook CICIG

The ITUC and its regional organisation in the Americas, TUCA, have urged the president of Guatemala to extend the mandate of the UN International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

Despite CICIG’s outstanding track record in dismantling criminal networks, President Otto Pérez Molina has given indications he will not agree to allow it to continue its work in Guatemala.

The Commission was established in 2007, after a request from Guatemala to the UN for support in combatting organised crime infiltrated in state agencies. Recently, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is ready to respond favourably to a request for a further mandate extension.

“The CICIG has been recognised and respected by the international community for its indisputable achievements in strengthening the rule of law in Guatemala through effective investigation and prosecution of illegal groups,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Since its creation, the Commission has conducted 204 investigations that uncovered 33 criminal structures operating in the country, according to details provided by the US-based Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

Earlier this month, CICIG helped to dismantle and captured 19 members of a customs bribery ring, including the head of the Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT). The private secretary to Guatemala’s Vice-president was also implicated.

“The high rates of violence occurring in Guatemala, particularly affecting trade unionists, social activists and human rights defenders, are result of a climate of impunity. The CICIG has given enough evidence that its presence is still essential to establish a culture of legality,” said Sharan Burrow.

President Pérez Molina is expected to announce his decision on 5th May.