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Guatemala at the edge of the abyss

24 71 638

On Monday, the Guatemalan government announced its withdrawal from a treaty with the United Nations which created an International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

Although CICIG's mandate in the country is set to expire in nine months, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales gave its international staff 24 hours to leave the country. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the decision, saying he expected "the Government of Guatemala to entirely fulfil its legal obligations under the Agreement".

The expulsion of CICIG has being decidedly decried as illegal both nationally and internationally. In a place where the rule of law is an aspiration and the rule of incompetence - a reality, CICIG emerged as a beacon of hope. After 10 years of work, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) recognised the body's "crucial role" in the in the fight against corruption in Guatemala, through the disbanding of criminal networks and organised crime structures together with local prosecutors.

The IACHR also highlighted the support CICIG provides by training local officials and pushing for legal reforms to improve the efficiency of the justice system. Furthermore, it is estimated that its work has contributed to a net reduction of 4,500 homicides between 2007 and 2017. So why would a government seek to shut down such a mechanism if it has clearly helped improve the capacity of the Guatemalan state to deal with crime?

Before being elected,........

© Al Jazeera