Torres Statement on Efforts to Retaliate against Former CICIG Personnel
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres (D-CA) issued the following statement after the announcement by the Guatemalan Congress of a new commission to investigate “illegal and arbitrary acts” by former staff members of the International Commission against Impunity (CICIG):
“I strongly oppose any retaliation against former CICIG personnel, including efforts to delegitimize their work, slander their reputations, or pursue fabricated legal cases against them.
“During its twelve years of existence, CICIG, which was created at the request of the Guatemalan government and whose mandate was renewed six times by successive Guatemalan presidents, made significant contributions to the fight against corruption and impunity in Guatemala. It did so with extensive cooperation from Guatemalan prosecutors, judges, and civil society activists, and it enjoyed strong support from the Guatemalan people and the international community.
“Since the Commission’s departure, members of Guatemala’s political class have threatened retribution against CICIG and the many Guatemalans who supported its work. The creation of a specialized commission within the Guatemalan Congress is clearly part of this effort. It is reprehensible and should be denounced by the entire international community.
“Instead of pursuing those who helped CICIG investigate and prosecute corruption, Guatemala’s Congress and government should be focused on preserving and building on their successes. To the greatest extent possible, Guatemalan nationals who previously worked for CICIG, and gained considerable investigative and prosecutorial experience in the process, should be integrated into the Public Ministry's Office of the Special Prosecutor against Impunity. Likewise, the Guatemalan Congress should act to enshrine the legislative and constitutional reforms that were proposed by CICIG in 2016, following extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders in Guatemala, and which are critical to strengthening the capacity of Guatemala’s institutions to combat corruption and impunity.
“It is essential that Guatemala's justice system remains independent. To that end, Attorney General Porras must refrain from opening any investigations that are politically motivated and which are not substantiated by the facts.”
Torres, the only Central American serving in Congress, is a member of the House Rules and Appropriations Committees. She is the founder and co-chair of the Central America Caucus.