WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
5 May 2007 | | News

Senate Resolution 155: Efforts to control violence and strengthen rule of law in Guatemala

This Senate resolution was passed by unanimous consent on May 01, 2007.


Expressing the sense of the Senate on efforts to control violence and strengthen the rule of law in Guatemala.

Whereas warring parties in Guatemala ended a 36-year internal armed conflict with a peace agreement in 1996, but the country has since faced alarming levels of violence, organized crime, and corruption;

Whereas the alleged involvement of senior officials of the National Civilian Police in the murder of three Salvadoran parliamentarians and their driver, and the subsequent killing of four of the police officers while in custody underscored the need to purge and strengthen law enforcement and judicial institutions in Guatemala;

Whereas high-level officials of the Government of Guatemala have acknowledged the infiltration of organized criminal networks into the state apparatus and the difficulty of combating these networks when they are deeply entrenched in public institutions;

Whereas, in its 2006 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Guatemala, the Department of State noted that police corruption was a serious problem in Guatemala and that there were credible allegations of involvement by individual police officers in criminal activity, including rapes, killings, and kidnappings;

Whereas, in its most recent report on Guatemala, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights notes that impunity continues to undermine the credibility of the justice system in Guatemala and that the justice system is still too weak to confront organized crime and its powerful structures; and

Whereas, the Government of Guatemala and the United Nations signed an agreement on December 12, 2006, to establish the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Comision Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala–CICIG), to assist local authorities in investigating and dismantling the illegal security groups and clandestine organizations that continue to operate in Guatemala: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That–

(1) it is the sense of the Senate that the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala is an innovative mechanism to support local efforts to confront the entrenched and dangerous problem posed by illegal armed groups and clandestine security organizations in Guatemala and their infiltration into state institutions;

(2) the Senate commends the Government of Guatemala, local civil society organizations, and the United Nations for such a creative effort;

(3) the Senate encourages the Guatemalan Congress to enact necessary legislation required to implement the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala and other pending legislation needed to fulfill the 1996 peace agreement;

(4) the Senate calls on the Government of Guatemala and all sectors of society in Guatemala to unreservedly support the investigation and prosecution of illegal armed groups and clandestine security organizations; and

(5) the Senate reiterates its commitment to support the Government of Guatemala in its efforts to strengthen the rule of law in that country, including the dismantling of the clandestine groups, the purging of the police and judicial institutions, and the implementation of key justice and police reforms.