Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption movement, strongly rejects the attempt by the members of the Congress of Guatemalan Republic to reform the Penal Code, in a way that guarantees impunity, weakens justice and negatively affects the fight against corruption in the country, and welcomes the prompt action of the Constitutional Court to suspend the attempted reform.
Last Wednesday (13 September) Guatemalan legislators approved a reform intended to exempt the general secretaries of political parties from the crime of illicit electoral financing and reduce the penalties for these crimes from imprisonment to fines.
"The decision of the legislators is clearly a reaction against the fight against corruption that has been led by the International Commission against Impunity (CICIG) and the General Attorney Office. The legislators took sides in favour of corruption and that is an offence against the people of Guatemala and an attack on the justice system," said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
Transparency International will request the suspension of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala from regional and global parliamentary forums, such as the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO) and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), until there are clear commitments not to seek reforms of this kind.
"Although the legislators reversed the reforms, their intention was clear, which confirms that corruption is a structural problem and widespread among congressmen and political parties. The support of the international community is fundamental to curb those spurious interests and to clean up the political class and public institutions in the country," said Manfredo Marroquín, President of Acción Ciudadana, TI’s chapter in Guatemala.
Guatemala has shown progress in the investigation of crimes against corruption, although the results regarding sanctions are slight and are still to be seen. Transparency International encourages Guatemalan citizens to continue to demonstrate peacefully against corruption and to press for legal and institutional reforms to foster a new way of doing business and politics based on collective interest, transparency and integrity.
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