Implementation of the international commission against impunity in Guatemala (CICIG): strengthening the rule of law from 2015 to 2019
The International Comission Against Impunity in Guatemala –CICIG- (its Spanish acronym), helped Guatemala’s Attorney General’s Office investigate and indict Illegal Bodies and Clandestine Security Apparatus (CIACS) and other related crimes. In 2015, CICIG Commissioner Iván Velásquez, (2013-2019) with Attorney General Thelma Aldana and the Special Prosecutor´s Office Against Impunity headed by Francisco Sandoval discovered massive tax fraud on imported goods in the customs system. Called “The Line”, the criminal network involved businessmen and high-level officials including Otto Pérez Molina and Roxana Baldetti Elías, former President and Vice President.
One of Guatemala’s first major tax fraud and corruption cases, “The Line” exposed a justice system weakened by an underground network that bribed and initimidated judges, prosecutors, police, and undermined the electoral system. Through cases like these, CICIG and its government partners strengthened the rule of law and fought against corruption, illicit electoral financing and political interference. In 2015, they helped enact legal reforms to the judiciary and prosecutor’s office and presented constitutional, criminal, electoral financing, impeachment and amparo, habeas corpus and constitutionality law reforms still pending approval as of 2020.
During its legal reforms, emblematic cases of corruption and exposure powerful criminal networks deeply embedded in the state, the commission demonstrated that no one is outside the reach of justice, earning popular approval and building alliances with the attorney general’s office, civil society, national police and international cooperation who jointly took action in favor of continuing the fight against impunity and corruption. CICIG built a citizen trust and demonstrated that the powerful can be tried by helping the prosecutor''s office pursue paradigmatic cases of drug traffickers, ex-military personnel, corrupt politicians, corrupt bankers and even past war crimes.
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