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Guatemala: Authorities must respect independence of courts and swiftly resolve the judicial crisis

Transparency International is deeply concerned about the current judicial crisis in Guatemala.

“Guatemala is facing an institutional crisis instigated by those who seek impunity for corruption. Attempts to manipulate the process for selecting judges and attacks on the Constitutional Court undermine the very essence of our democracy and leave the Guatemalan people in a state of vulnerability,” said Edie Cux, Director of Acción Ciudadana, national chapter of Transparency International.

In May, a report by the Public Prosecutor's Office found that a political operator jailed for corruption had sought to influence the process of judicial appointments to the Supreme Court and the Chambers of Appeals.

Since then, the Constitutional Court has resolved that Congress should adopt a more transparent selection process, but the Court has been confronted with a criminal lawsuit against its own judges.

Alarmingly, Guatemala’s Congress has continued pre-trial proceedings despite such legal action not being permitted by the law, and in defiance of a constitutional action to respect the independence of the Constitutional Court. The action, which Acción Ciudadana had presented, obliged Congress to halt the pre-trial proceedings and send the original file to the Constitutional Court.

Transparency International urges swift action to resolve the ongoing crisis. We call upon:

  • the Guatemalan authorities to adhere to fundamental democratic principles, and respect constitutional control mechanisms and independence of courts, including and especially of the Constitutional Court – the highest court of the country
  • the Public Prosecutor's Office to comply with the law and to safeguard the constitutional and democratic order
  • Congress to comply with the orders of the Constitutional Court.