UN

Guatemala Gives the U.N. the Boot

1/14/19
from The Wall Street Journal,
1/13/19:

The Commission Against Impunity undercuts confidence in the justice system..

While President Trump has been tangling with Congress over security solutions along the U.S. southern border, the United Nations has provoked a political crisis in Guatemala. The U.S. is unlikely to make progress on the former without paying attention to the latter. The U.N.’s Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or CICIG, began work in 2007 with a mandate to investigate illicit security forces and clandestine organizations and to support the Guatemalan attorney general in prosecuting organized crime. Yet in 11 years, CICIG has secured precious few successful prosecutions and none among high-level politicians. Meanwhile it has undermined confidence in the Guatemalan justice system, and CICIG Commissioner Iván Velásquez has become a lightning rod for controversy. Last Monday Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales gave the commission 24 hours to leave the country. CICIG complied—for now. According to people familiar with the matter, the Morales government had brought credible complaints to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres about CICIG witness tampering, illegal negotiations with convicted criminals, and prolonged, illegal preventive detention as a form of psychological torture. It complained that a CICIG official publicly stated that the commission is above the Guatemalan Constitution. Stéphane Dujarric, the U.N. secretary-general’s spokesman, told me by email on Thursday that the U.N. doesn’t believe CICIG is above the constitution. But he said “the management and running of the commission are the responsibility of the Commissioner. Questions relating to personnel should be addressed to the Commission itself.” In the U.N.’s eyes, Mr. Velásquez answers to no higher power.

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