CICIG - The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala
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At the forum "Young and Committed", Commissioner Iván Velásquez called upon the youth to join forces in fighting impunity.

PRESS RELEASE 009

US GOVERNMENT REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR CICIG

Guatemala, February 11, 2014. The U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, William Brownfield, reaffirmed support for CICIG at a press conference held today by signing a cooperation agreement for USD 4.8 million. These funds will contribute to the continued work of the Commission in the fight against impunity in Guatemala.

The agreement was signed by the Assistant Secretary, William Brownfield, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Guatemala, Valerie Julliand, and the CICIG Commissioner, Iván Velásquez Gómez. Accompanying them at the head table were the Attorney General of the Republic, Claudia Paz y Paz, and the U.S. Embassy Chargé d'Affaires, Bruce Williamson.

The Assistant Secretary said "the U.S. Government is a member of the international community that has transparently, publicly and directly contributed to the work and commendable mission of CICIG since its inception. We believe the Commission has played a crucial role in strengthening the Guatemalan justice system".

The Assistant Secretary said he believed that the Commission's work was not yet finished as plenty of work was still required in order to ensure appropriate justice was delivered for Guatemalans.  He added that CICIG should continue to support the country throughout the duration of the process to reform the justice sector.

Support of partner countries
"The work of CICIG has been possible thanks to the countries supporting its mandate, because in these countries there are people who pay taxes, making it possible to support bodies such as the Commission," said Valerie Julliand, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Guatemala.

She said that impunity levels had fallen in Guatemala thanks to coordination among justice institutions. She also highlighted the importance of transparency, the fight against corruption and social auditing when selecting the country's justice officials.

The Attorney General of the Republic, Claudia Paz y Paz, said that in the past Guatemalans had felt a deep distrust towards justice institutions because of the impunity that prevailed at the time and, therefore, the Government of Guatemala had requested the support of the United Nations in tackling the problem.

"We can now say that things have changed. 95% impunity is a thing of the past. The Public Prosecutor's Office, with the support of CICIG, and together with the Ministry of the Interior, is now able to shed light on 30% of crimes against life. This shows that justice institutions can work professionally and independently, benefitting from the international community's support," said the Attorney General.

Support
The Commissioner said that beyond the international community's economic support, which is of great importance to the Commission, was the backing shown for the continued work of CICIG towards fulfilling its mandate. "It is ratification on the part of the United States as a country that has supported our work, as well as other countries, which believe in the need to further identify and dismantle criminal structures—a responsibility of the Commission."

He also highlighted the work of the Attorney General in prosecuting criminal groups and structures. "This has been possible thanks to the dedication of the Attorney General to her work; her presence at the MP is of great benefit to the country and to the work of CICIG. Therefore, we hope that the culmination of her tenure does not present an obstacle for the continued activities of the Commission," he said.


William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary
Valerie Julliand, United Nations Resident Coordinator
Claudia Paz y Paz, Attorney General of the Republic
Commissioner Iván Velásquez Gómez
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        About Guatemala
  The Republic of Guatemala, a mountainous country that lies in the Central American isthmus, has an estimated population of 13 million people.
  Guatemala won its independence in 1821, following almost three centuries of Spanish colonial rule.
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