Guatemala high court removes attorney general following corruption allegations

[JURIST] The Guatemalan Constitutional Court [official website, in Spanish] on Thursday removed Attorney General Conrado Reyes from power. Reyes was appointed to the position by Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom late last month, but he came under close scrutiny earlier this week when the head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) [official website], Carlos Castresana, accused him of having ties to organized crime [JURIST report]. Castresana included the accusation when citing his reasons for resigning from his position. The court did not specifically accuse Reyes of having ties to organized crime [Prensa Libre report, in Spanish], but rather indicated that the constitutional process could not be harmed by the possibility of corruption. An interim attorney general has been appointed, and Reyes has indicated he will not appeal the decision.

Corruption has remained a problem in Guatemala. In March, following an 11-month investigation with CICIG, Guatemalan authorities arrested two high-ranking police officials [JURIST report] tasked with leading the country's war on drugs on charges of corruption and drug trafficking. Also in March, the US State Department [official website] released its 2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, which highlighted Guatemala as a key player in the Latin American drug trade [text, PDF]. Corruption among high-ranking officials was cited as one of the country's biggest problems. The Congress of Guatemala [official website, in Spanish] voted to create CICIG [JURIST report] in 2007 in order to investigate organized crime and official corruption.

 

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