President Jimmy Morales announced on August 31 that he will not renew the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala – CICIG); but what is the CICIG and what are its functions in Guatemala?In the following note you will find information about the functions that the United Nations (UN) and Guatemala established for the commission, which is currently directed by Iván Velásquez.
What is the CICIG?
The CICIG is a UN entity requested by the State of Guatemala and approved by Congress whose purpose is to investigate the existence of illegal security bodies and clandestine security apparatuses (Ciacs), which commit crimes that affect the human rights of Guatemalans, as well as to identify the structures of these illegal groups.It was on December 12, 2006 when the UN and the government of Guatemala signed the agreement to create the commission. The Constitutional Court issued a favorable advisory opinion for its establishment in the country in May 2007, and Congress approved its mandate on August 1 of that year.
What are the functions of the Cicig?
The functions of the commission are set out in its mandate, which has three main objectives:First, the Cicig should investigate the existence of illegal security forces and clandestine security apparatuses that commit crimes that affect the fundamental human rights of Guatemalan citizens, and identify the structures of these illegal groups (including their links to state officials), activities, modalities of operation and sources of financing. Second, the Cicig must collaborate with the State in dismantling the clandestine security apparatuses and illegal security forces and promote the investigation, criminal prosecution and punishment of crimes committed by its members;Third, the Cicig will make recommendations to the State of Guatemala for the adoption of public policies aimed at eradicating clandestine apparatuses and illegal security bodies and preventing their reappearance, including the legal and institutional reforms necessary for this purpose.
Where does Cicig’s funding come from?
Cicig is financed through voluntary financial contributions from the international community that are deposited into a fund administered by the United Nations Development Programme. Since its establishment, 17 donors have contributed to its operation.The international community also contributes to the Cicig through the temporary deployment of specialized personnel in security and criminal investigation. The governments of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Peru and Uruguay are some of these countries.On behalf of the Guatemalan government, members of the National Civil Police are contributing to strengthen the external security of the Commission.
Why does Cicig recommend reforms to Guatemalan legislation?
The third objective of the commission’s mandate states that “the Cicig will make recommendations to the State of Guatemala for the adoption of public policies aimed at eradicating clandestine apparatuses and illegal security bodies and preventing their reappearance, including the legal and institutional reforms necessary for this purpose.”
These are the bills that the Cicig has presented:
- 2009: Reform of the Penal Code and Migration Law to punish the smuggling of migrants.
- 2009, Disciplinary package in criminal justice, which includes corresponding infractions and sanctions, processes to deduce administrative responsibility and intervening bodies with delimited functions and competences.
- 2009: Reforms to the General Extradition Law.
- 2010: Domain Extinction Law.
- 2010: Law Regulating Private Security Services.
- 2011: Recommendations to Initiative 4387, constitutional reform.
- 2011: Approval of the Mobile Registration Law for the prevention of cell phone theft and extortion.