Guatemala: attacks against judges and human rights defenders must cease

Conclusions of the Conference on Judicial Independence, Guatemala City, 18-19 June 2018

The ICJ is deeply concerned about the increase in the abuse of disciplinary measures against independent and impartial judges and about crimes committed against human rights defenders. These attacks are putting the rule of law at risk in Guatemala.

The ICJ therefore urges the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers to carry out visits to the country so as to verify the situation.

Judges facing malicious disciplinary proceedings

From 18-19 June 2018, the ICJ hosted a conference on the independence of judges with participants from different Central American judges’ associations.

The conference was able to verify that impartial and honourable judges face on-going disciplinary actions that seek to have then recused from trials or have them removed from office on account of their judicial decisions.

Judges are facing the malicious use of the judicial disciplinary system by groups or persons who disapprove of judicial rulings in high-impact cases.

The meeting was an opportunity for different justice sector institutions and judges, victims of attacks, to analyse fundamental concepts and international standards on the judiciary.

The conference concluded, the judicial career system must guarantee that a higher judicial authority can only sanction judges for legally established reasons as set down by international standards.

There was a full agenda of discussions with the participation of the Association of Guatemala Judges for Integrity (AGJI), the President of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the Supervisor General of Courts, judges from the Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court, the Commissioner of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the plenary of the Council of the Judicial Career.

The conference examined attacks against judges and their impact, case by case, in the light of international standards. The conference concluded that judges including Ericka Aifán, Yassmín Barrios, Miguel Ángel Gálvez, Carlos Ruano and Pablo Xitumul are facing disciplinary measures because they have acted independently and impartially.

The spurious complaints presented against them before the judicial disciplinary system or other State institutions should be excluded “in limine”.

Read the full Article in English (PDF): Guatemala-Conference-of-Judges-News-Web-stories-June-2018-ENG

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