OHCHR: Türk Urges No Reprisals Against Justice Officials in Guatemala


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Thursday voiced his alarm at the continued erosion of the rule of law in Guatemala, where justice officials, including those who worked for or cooperated with the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity (CICIG), continue to face intimidation, harassment and prosecution.

“It is particularly concerning that administrative and criminal proceedings are being used in apparent reprisal against those involved in investigating and prosecuting cases of corruption or serious human rights violations committed during the armed conflict,” said Türk.

On 28 March, in the latest in a series of such cases, the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (Fiscalía Especial contra la Impunidad, FECI) announced it was taking legal action against former CICIG Commissioner Francisco Dall’Anese in relation to his work with the Commission.

“I am also concerned that presidential and vice-presidential candidates from across the political spectrum, including Thelma Cabrera, Jordan Rodas and Roberto Arzú, have had their candidacies for the 25 June elections rejected by the Electoral Court on seemingly arbitrary grounds,” the High Commissioner said. Appeals on these cases are before the Supreme Court.

“The right to participate in public affairs, including the right to vote and to stand for election, is an internationally recognized human right. The Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Justice and the Electoral Court should decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions or improper influence,” Türk stressed.

“I call on the Guatemalan authorities to ensure judges and lawyers can function freely and without fear of reprisals. An independent judiciary is vital for a democratic society,” he said.

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