Rule of law practitioners, ambassadors and experts on Latin America joined ILAC for the launch of its report on the Guatemalan justice sector in Washington DC last month. The launch was organised by ILAC member the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative and hosted by another member, the International Association of Women Judges.
The panel of five experts that participated in the assessment mission in Guatemala was chaired by Ms Maria Claudia Pulido, Assistant Executive Secretary for Monitoring, Promotion and Technical Cooperation of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, which recently issued its own report on the situation of human rights in Guatemala.
Drawing on the assessment findings, ILAC´s Senior Legal Expert and assessment team leader Rhodri Williams commented on the relationship between the findings in the report and the current crisis surrounding the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG):
Although ILAC had several recommendations related directly to the need for continued support for the CICIG, most relate to necessary reforms to increase the independence and effectiveness of national judges and prosecutors. However, these recommendations assumed an ongoing CICIG presence in the country. With CICIG absent or severely weakened, we are concerned that the justice system will not have the capacity to meet the tremendous challenges it faces.
Judge Mike Enwall pointed out that the lack of judicial resources and interference in the work of judges are major obstacles for the Guatemalan justice sector. He also affirmed the ILAC assessment mission’s finding that Guatemalan justice sector actors see CICIG as existential to ensuring integrity.
Judges and lawyers in Guatemala do not see how they can possibly survive in a system which is truly dedicated to the rule of law if they don’t have CICIG to protect what they are doing,” said Judge Enwall.
ILAC’s report comes at a crucial turning point in Guatemala’s fight for justice and describes the challenges Guatemala faces in building greater respect for the rule of law. It sets out recommendations that can help guide and support national actors and international partners engaged in the strengthening of the Guatemalan justice sector.
The findings of the report were also presented at meetings with representatives of several US Congresspersons, the US Department of State, and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.
Next Public Launches of ILAC Guatemala Justice Sector Report
London, 6 November, 17:30-21:00
Location: David Lloyd George Room, 113 Chancery Lane, The Law Society.
RSVP – e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Stockholm, 23 November, 10:30 – 12:00
Location: Valhallavägen 199, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.