WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
29 Aug 2017 | Press Release

The Resolution Declaring Commissioner Velásquez Persona Non Grata is in Violation of the Guatemalan Constitution

Constitutional Court to Evaluate Case

Washington, DC—Yesterday, the Guatemalan news outlet Prensa Libre published a copy of the letter from Guatemalan President, Jimmy Morales, declaring the head of the International Community against Impunity and Corruption (CICIG), Iván Velásquez, persona non grata.

In the opinion of experts, the document does not comply with the requirements of the country’s Constitution because President Morales acted alone. According to article 182 of the Constitution, “The President of the Republic, will always act with the ministers, in the Cabinet or separately, with one or more ministers; as the General Commander of the Army [the President] represents national unity and must ensure the interests of the entire population of the Republic.” The resolution was released by the president without being signed by at least one other minister of state. Therefore, the document fails to meet constitutional requirements and constitutes an abuse of authority due to the fact that it was proclaimed unilaterally.

On August 27, the Constitutional Court granted a provisional injunction in favor of Commissioner Velásquez. The terms of the provisional injunction expire today, which is why the court will meet and continue to evaluate the case. We urge the court to guarantee respect for the established norms of the Constitution.

Earlier today, Guatemalan civil society members sought to add themselves as a third party intervenor in favor of the injunction, given the legal shortcomings in the presidential letter. These civil society members are available for comment. For more information contact:

  • Elvyn Díaz, Director of the Institute of Comparative Studies in Criminal Sciences (Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales) +502 45120891
  • Alvaro Montenegro, Justice now (Justicia Ya) +502 30948580
  • Alejandro Balsells,Constitutionalist. +502 55158652
  • Alejandro Rodríguez, Director of Justice Programs for Impunity Watch +502 42458000
  • Helen Mack, Myrna Mack Foundation +502 52050840
  • Jordan Rodas, Human Rights Procurator + 502 54095877