PRESS RELEASE 024
CONTRIBUTING TO MORE COMPLETE PROFILES
AMICUS CURIAEBEFORE THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
Guatemala, 9 June 2014. The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala presented on 5 June 2014 a proposal to the Constitutional Court (CC), with a view contributing to selection procedures for positions of public office regulated by the Nominating Committees Act.
On 7 May, a lawyer, as a citizen, filed a general partial action of unconstitutionality before the Constitutional Court (CC) in relation to Article 12 of the Nominating Committees Act, which sets forth the criteria for approving candidate profiles and grading of candidates based on ethical, academic, professional and human aspects.
The Court ordered the provisional suspension of certain parts of the Article, in particular numerical grading on a scale of 1 to 100. In this regard, other highly‑important aspects of the Act were not suspended, such as the drafting and approval of candidate profiles and the approval of a grading table of candidates, which should be used as a base by members of the Nominating Committee when voting on candidates.
In this regard, CICIG, in order to contribute to the constitutional debate, included three key elements in its amicus curiae:
The Constitutional Court (CC), as the highest authority regarding the interpretation of the Constitution, has the authority to determine the scope of the three elements embodied in Article 113 of the Constitution, which concern capacity, suitability and honesty. Through its rulings, which constitute a legal doctrine, the CC has taken similar action in the past in relation to the "recognized honesty" requirement. This will afford Nominating Committees greater legal certainty in enforcing Article 113 of the Constitution and Article 12 of the Nominating Committees Act.
The CC has established in its legal doctrine basic criteria to analyze and evaluate the recognized honesty requirement, which it has titled "Good Practices Guide Regarding Transparency", and has reiterated that the Nominating Committees should use this Guide to shape their actions. Therefore, CICIG states that the documentation that accompanies a candidate application, the gathering and verification of candidate information, and classified public interviews should be used as tools enabling the Nominating Committees to analyze and assess recognized honesty aspects and capacity, suitability and honesty merits. Furthermore, ethical, academic, professional and human aspects which are closely linked to such merits should also be taken into consideration, pursuant to Articles 207 and 113 of the Constitution and Article 12 of the Nominating Committees Act.
In order to uphold the transparency and accountability principles underpinning the selection and appointment procedures of public officials, it is highly important that the Constitutional Court (CC) reiterates the obligation of each member of a Nominating Committee to justify in a public, reasoned and clear manner why a candidate is selected or not, based on the analysis and evaluation of recognized honesty, and capacity, suitability, and honesty merits. Furthermore, ethical, academic, professional and human aspects which are closely linked to such merits should also be taken into consideration.