STATEMENT 111 | Photo: CICIG.
According to information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding eleven officials and two of their relatives, whose courtesy visas and accreditation of diplomatic staff were not renewed and their immunity was withdrawn, it should be noted that these international officials are investigators and litigants of high-impact cases in Guatemala. This measure seeks to affect the independence of their work against the illegal and clandestine security apparatus (cuerpo ilegal y aparato clandestino de seguridad,CIACS), whether regarding investigations or several ongoing litigations. It also becomes an opportunity for eventual criminal prosecution against those officials.
The information quoted in the official publication (Diario de Centroamérica) has not been notified to CICIG through the corresponding diplomatic channels. A notice in the official newspaper does not constitute an official communication, and the Commission has not received a consular notification.
“The decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala to revoke and not renew the visas of officials of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has no legal basis and, therefore, is arbitrary. The only reason expressed, both by the President of the Republic and the minister, designating them as terrorists with pending investigations in their countries of origin is false as opportunely demonstrated with the certificates of lack of a criminal record provided to the Foreign Ministry. If the Government of Guatemala has evidence to the contrary, it should disclose any such information,” said Commissioner Iván Velásquez.
The diplomatic immunity for CICIG employees is established under the agreement that created it and not from a diplomatic accreditation or courtesy visa, and only the Commissioner has the authority to withdraw that protection.
“The decision made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday and published today in Diario de Centroamérica, “voids the accreditation of said officials (…) so they should return the credentials they received as experts of that Committee and still in their possession (…) [and] they no longer enjoy the privileges and immunities they were granted as CICIG experts.” This decision is unjustified and ignores the provisions of the Agreement regarding the establishment of the Commission and the immunities granted to CICIG’s foreign officials,” said the Commissioner.
CICIG continues to work within the framework of the provisions of said agreement, which establishes that the Government of Guatemala and the United Nations General-Secretariat should work to resolve any dispute within a context of dialogue.
“The actions adopted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala disregard the Political Constitution of the Republic and constitute an attack on the Rule of Law and could be a prelude to actions against CICIG officials,” said Commissioner Velásquez.