Guatemala: ICJ Latin American Commissioners condemn attacks against judicial independence

“Judges from the High Risk Tribunals in Guatemala, including Ericka Aifán, Yassmín Barrios, Miguel Ángel Gálvez and Pablo Xitumul, are facing unjustified disciplinary hearings,” nine Latin American Commissioners from the ICJ, meeting in Bogotá on 24 June, stated today.

The Commissioners understand that these judges are facing unjustified disciplinary hearings instigated by groups or persons who are displeased with judicial rulings in high-impact cases involving transitional justice or corruption.

They expressed serious concern about the precarious state of the independence of the judiciary in Guatemala. Judges are subjected to on-going attacks that seek to impact their work as honourable and impartial justice operators.

According to international standards, judges should exercise their functions free of any extraneous influence and with total impartiality; without any limitations, inducements, pressures, threats or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or any reason.

The Commissioners also expressed their complete support for Commissioner Iván Velásquez, head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), who because of the exercise of his functions, has also suffered from a series of hostile acts and smear campaigns.

The ICJ Commissioners extend their full support to the CICIG in its struggle against impunity and corruption.

The Commissioners request that the international community continues to support the CICIG with sufficient human and financial resources.

At the same time, the Commissioners call upon the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, the Sub-Committee of Human Rights of the European Parliament and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, to visit Guatemala and to verify “in situ” the precarious state of judicial independence in the country.

The nine ICJ commissioners who issued the statement

Carlos Ayala, Vice-President of the International Commission of Jurists (Venezuela)

Mónica Pinto, Commissioner (Argentina)

Miguel Carbonnel, Commissioner (Mexico)

Victor Rodriguez Rescia Commissioner (Costa Rica)

Wilder Tayler, Commissioner (Uruguay)

Belisário dos Santos, Commissioner Brazil

Juan Mendez, Commissioner (Argentina)

Roberto Garretón, Commissioner (Chile)

NewsWeb stories