Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2021 seminar on…
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2021 focuses on Azerbaijan. This seminar on 21 January addresses challenges faced by lawyers there in practising their profession.
The president of the Republic of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales.
We co-wrote the letter with:
We’re concerned about recent developments in Guatemala that threaten the independence of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and the rule of law.
The Commission against Corruption and Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has been instrumental in tackling corruption and strengthening the rule of law in Guatemala with support from the United Nations.
Actions taken against the CICIG and its commissioner, Mr Iván Velásquez, highlight a significant deterioration of the situation in Guatemala. Mr Velásquez was ordered to leave Guatemala immediately in August 2017, before the Constitutional Court granted an interim measure to allow him to stay in the country.
Judicial measures and other actions have been taken against the judges who voted in favour of the interim measures granting leave to remain. Twenty applications have been made against judges of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala. These are likely a consequence of the Supreme Court’s admission of applications that challenge corruption at the highest level of government.
Proposed legal reforms would pose a serious threat to the independence of the judiciary by effectively giving the legislature the power to remove judges.
We understand that further reforms regarding the removal of immunity of the president and Constitutional Court judges have also been proposed.
We support the independence of the judiciary in Guatemala and the need to respect the separation of powers.
We urged the Guatemalan authorities to:
27 August 2017 – Mr Velásquez was declared persona non grata and ordered to immediately leave the country. The Constitutional Court provisionally granted a measure to allow Mr Velásquez to stay in the country
29 August 2017 – an application was made against the judges who voted in favour of the interim measure granting Mr Velásquez leave to remain in Guatemala
August 2018 – the Guatemalan government informed the UN secretary general that it would not request an extension of the CIGIG’s mandate, which expires in September 2019
September 2018 – an order was issued to prevent Mr Velásquez from re-entering Guatemala after travelling to the US