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News > Guatemala

Guatemala Gov't Bows to Pressure, Renews Visas of Officials from UN Anti-Graft Body

  • People hold signs during a protest against Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, who used to be comedian before he took office.

    People hold signs during a protest against Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, who used to be comedian before he took office. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 December 2018

The Guatemalan government, upon orders from the Constitutional Court, will allow CICIG investigators to come back to the country. 

The United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) announced Monday that the country’s Foreign Ministry will renew visas to 11 investigators who were barred from entering the country in October.


CICIG Members Leave Guatemala After Government Revokes Visas

The government, through a letter to the U.N., Sunday, notified them that the investigators should present documents to start the visa process with the General Directorate of Protocol and Diplomatic Ceremonial.

The decision came after the Constitutionality Court of Guatemala rejected appeals presented by the country’s foreign affairs ministry, ordering the renovation of work visas for 11 lawyers and investigators.

The Court’s decision is the latest in a long-standing dispute between the judiciary, which seeks to protect CICIG’s mandate and an executive that seeks to oust the international body.

Additionally, the CICIG filed two pre-trial petitions against Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales for corruption which was previously dismissed by the Congress.

Morales argued that the CICIG does not coordinate with the national institutions, hence, their visas were revoked.

Guatemala’s Chief of the Public Prosecutor's Office Maria Consuelo Porras announced her office launched an investigation against Foreign Ministry Sandra Jovel for revoking the investigators’ visas after an organization called “Alliance for the Reform,” which gathers about 30 social and human rights groups, filed an appeal.

One of the targeted CICIG officials, Cesar Giron, led a fraud case against the president’s brother and son, which led to a trial that began last year, and is still ongoing.

CICIG was established over a decade ago with the authority to conduct independent investigations and work with the country’s prosecutors. It has often clashed with Morales, whose National Convergence Front is close to military officers responsible for many human rights' violations during the country’s civil war.

The CICIG brought down Morales’ predecessor, Otto Perez, with a corruption probe and sought to prosecute Morales over illegal financing allegations.

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