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News > Latin America

Guatemala: UN-Backed Body Wants to Revoke President Morales' Immunity, Investigate Campaign Financing

  • Guatemala's Attorney General Consuelo Porras and Ivan Velasquez, head of the CICIG.

    Guatemala's Attorney General Consuelo Porras and Ivan Velasquez, head of the CICIG. | Photo: EFE

Published 11 August 2018

This is the third time Guatemala's Attorney General and United Nations-backed commission have requested the removal of president Morales' immunity.

Guatemala's Attorney General and the United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) sought to remove president Jimmy Morales' immunity for the third time so he can be investigated for illicit campaign financing. 

NGO: Guatemalan Gov't Obstructing Peace, Human Rights Agenda

Attorney General, Consuelo Porras, explained the request was made after new evidence surfaced in an investigation to determine the origin of US$1 million in undeclared campaign financing for the conservative National Convergence Front. Morales was the party's secretary general between 2015 and 2016. 

Stripping Morales of his immunity is a difficult task since it requires the support of two-thirds of Guatemala's Congress.  

The first request to remove Morales' immunity was made last August after former attorney general found evidence he had received illegal campaign funds in 2015. The application was rejected twice by Guatemalan legislator. In September, president Morales also tried to expel Colombian lawyer Ivan Velazquez, who heads the CICIG.  

The CICIG was created in 2006 by a U.N. decree to investigate widespread high-level corruption within the country. CICIG's investigation into President Morales was hampered by legislation passed in 2017 that granted the president immunity against corruption or embezzlement inquiries. 

Morales is facing several other accusations, including a complaint by two women who claimed they were sexually abused by the president, the murder and harassment of social and environmental leaders resisting state-backed projects, the embassy move to Jerusalem and the terrible management of the social disaster caused by the latest eruption of the Fuego volcano.

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