On Monday, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales took the extraordinary step of unilaterally withdrawing from the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. Since 2007, the United Nations–backed commission (which is commonly known by its Spanish acronym, CICIG) has worked with a series of reformist national prosecutors to dismantle 60 criminal networks that were choking state institutions. In 2015, an investigation led by CICIG brought down a sitting president and vice president after revealing their alleged direction of an embezzlement ring.
Morales also ordered the expulsion of CICIG’s international staff within 24 hours—a move which was condemned as a breach of the terms of the agreement by the UN Secretary-General. But when Guatemala’s Constitutional Court suspended Morales’s ruling and ordered government institutions to allow CICIG to function, the government responded by seeking the removal of Constitutional Court justices.
Learn more about this concerning development, including the weak response of Guatemala’s international donors, here.
In the coming days, we will be reviewing developments in the Guatemalan grave crimes cases that were heard during 2018 and taking stock of cases that could advance during 2019. We will also provide analysis on what the current crisis in Guatemala might mean for the future of grave crimes cases.