Head of UN-backed Guatemala anti-corruption commission resigns

[JURIST] The head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) [official website], Carlos Castresana, resigned Monday, citing the country's failure to adequately cooperate in the fight against corruption. Castresana expressed his frustration [BBC report] with the process, indicating he felt there was nothing more he could do to end corruption under the country's current laws. He also accused Guatemala's attorney general of having ties to organized crime. Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom reiterated his country's support of the CICIG [press release, in Spanish] and promised an investigation into allegations against the attorney general. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website] urged the Guatemalan government to fully comply with the recommendations [press release] made by CICIG. He also expressed UN commitment to ending corruption in Guatemala, calling CICIG a "groundbreaking initiative whose investigations and prosecutions are stirring hope in Guatemala that impunity can be defeated." Ban indicated he will select a replacement to head CICIG who can build on the progress that has already been made. CICIG's mandate runs through September 2011.

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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