WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
1 Jul 2015 | Publication | News

WOLA Report on the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG)

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The legacy of the CICIG: accomplishments, challenges, and lessons learned

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) has released a new study, evaluating the impact of the United Nations-backed judicial watchdog in Guatemala, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

Created in 2007 by an agreement between the UN and the Guatemalan government, the CICIG seeks to support Guatemalan institutions in investigating, prosecuting, and ultimately dismantling the networks of criminality and corruption that operate in the country. In contrast to other mechanisms of international cooperation for strengthening the rule of law, the CICIG is an independent investigative entity that operates under Guatemalan law and works alongside the Guatemalan justice system. As a result, it works hand-in-hand with the country’s judiciary and security institutions, building their capacities in the process.

The report, titled: “The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG): An Innovative Instrument for Fighting Criminal Organizations and Strengthening the Rule of Law,” is based on an in-depth analysis of key documents and interviews, and identifies the main lessons learned over the course of the CICIG’s eight years of operation in Guatemala.

To read the report, click here.

The 30-page report is the result of two years of research, and examines the CICIG as a model mechanism of international support to strengthen the rule of law in countries fraught with high levels of criminal violence, as well as weak and often corrupt security and judicial institutions.
Among other issues, the study focuses on three main elements:
  • The evolution and mutation of Guatemala’s intelligence and paramilitary structures from armed conflict actors to organized crime and corruption networks. Through the years, these illicit groups have used coercion, corruption, violence, alliances, and agreements to co-opt and manipulate state institutions to obtain long-term interest, foment their illegal activities, and ensure their impunity.
  • The impact and main challenges of the CICIG and the role of Guatemalan state institutions as a counterpart, and
  • The application of the CICIG as a model for strengthening the domestic, regional, and international rule of law.

Alongside the release of the report, WOLA has also prepared a series of infographics (see below) to accompany the “#CICIGSí” digital campaign, which illustrate both the concrete accomplishments and contributions of the CICIG to the rule of law and judicial independence in Guatemala.

For more information about the report or to arrange an interview, see our accompanying press release, or contact:

Kristel Mucino
WOLA Director of Communications
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Tel: 202-797-2171
Email: [email protected]