On 25 and 26 October, the ICJ in Central America will hold the VII Regional Conference on Judicial Independence, with the central theme of the protection and security of Judges.
The Conference will discuss the role that governments should play in the protection of judges, as well as the relationship between judicial independence and security of those who deliver justice.
Participants from outside the region include Radmila Dragicevic Justice of the Supreme Court of Cassation of Serbia and Vice-President of the ICJ; José Antonio Martín Pallín, Judge Emeritus of the Spanish Supreme Court of Justice and ICJ Commissioner, and Erland Flaterud and Finn Arne Schanche, both judges from Norway.
Nine other judges from Central America will attend, including Leonardo Ramírez of the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador Murcia and Fernando Cruz Castro, President of the Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica.
The ICJ regrets that the Supreme Court of Justice of Guatemala has not been in a position to receive this important delegation at its plenary on 23 October to address the issue of the security of judges.
The ICJ recalls that this Conference is held within the framework of a letter of cooperation and understanding agreed with the former President of the Judicial Branch and the Supreme Court of Justice, Ranulfo Rojas Cetina in 2015.
The ICJ is particularly concerned that there is presently an unfilled vacancy for Chief of Security for the judiciary, following the resignation of the former Chief who had allegedly engaged in conduct not consistent with his function.
Ramón Cadena, Director of the ICJ for Central America, said: “It is the duty of the Supreme Court of Justice to inform the Guatemalan public about the Judges Protection System, so that it does not become a source of corruption or in any way interferes with the work of independent, and impartial judges.”
In Guatemala, the international delegation will meet with judges such as Yassmín Barrios, Ericka Aifán, Miguel Ángel Gálvez, Carlos Ruano and Pablo Xitumul among others. They have been the subject of seemingly unfounded complaints which have posed risks to their personal security and independent judicial functioning.