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G13: 'Guatemala Must Work With UN in Anti-Corruption Fight'
Editor , Editor | Feb 28, 2018
Title: Editor
Topic category: Peace & Social Change

"The members of the G13 Group call on the Guatemalan authorities to work together with the CICIG so that it can continue satisfactorily fulfilling its functions and mandate," G13 said Monday.

The G13 member nations are asking Guatemala to work with the United Nations' International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) during the sessions being held this week.

The United Nations is meeting government officials to discuss concerns with the commission director following President Jimmy Morales' attempt to expel the president of the nation's impunity program, Ivan Velasquez, first in August and then via a migratory visa issue in October.

"The members of the G13 Group call on the Guatemalan authorities to work together with the CICIG so that it can continue satisfactorily fulfilling its functions and mandate," a statement from the organization said Monday.

The Italian, German, Canadian, Spanish, United States, French, United Kingdom, Swiss and Swedish embassies – together with the European Union, the United Nations, and members of the Guatemalan Group – have all stated their support for the anti-corruptionprogram.

In order to guarantee the nation's stability, they say, it must work as one to accept mutual forms of communication, understanding and responsibility.

In a tweet, the CICIG responded: "We appreciate the support of the G13, I think it is important to point out the strengthening that institutions of justice should have and the call they make about the selection process of Attorney General: @Ivan_Velasquez."

The Guatemalan state administrator has dodged multiple investigations, using his right to impunity to avoid corruption probes concerning the funding of his 2015 campaign.

In August, Velasquez launched an investigation into the US$825,000 still unaccounted for from Morales' presidential run, which Morales said exceeded Velasquez's mandate.

Velasquez, whose tenure is due to expire in 2019, had been leading corruption investigations in Guatemala since 2013. The program was launched at the request of the Guatemalan government in 2007, but has since picked up speed with the jailing of numerous former officials.

Recently, former Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom (2008-2012) was detained, along with nine other alleged collaborators, after being accused of fraud and graft in the Transurbano case.

In October, Velasquez said that because of CICIG oversight, the government has reformed laws against organized crime, money laundering and drug trafficking. These reforms, according to the president, reinforce political transparency. The commission has also created a witness protection program.

Velasquez announced other initiatives in store for the program's advancements, as well as the political and legal proposals needed to end government corruption and impunity.

The president of the commission said that they are seeking an "extensive list to modernize the state and to genuinely strengthen government institutions."

Tags: Guatemala, UN, anti-corruption, strengthening institutions, transparency
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