18 March 2011

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Commission against Impunity in Guatemala Helping to Make Drive


for Accountability Irreversible, Secretary-General Tells Staff


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks during his visit to the headquarters of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in Guatemala City, 17 March:

It is a pleasure to visit these headquarters.  Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to this tremendously important International Commission.

CICIG is a unique and groundbreaking initiative — different from anything else the United Nations has ever done.  A co-production of the United Nations and the State of Guatemala, it acts, in many ways, like an international prosecutorial unit, but within the Guatemalan legal system.

I wanted to visit you for two reasons.  First, to express my strong support for you, the staff, and for Commissioner Francisco Dall’Anese; your work is not only difficult, it also touches on very sensitive matters.  Uncovering entrenched criminal networks and promoting their prosecution is inherently challenging.  At times, it is dangerous.  Illuminating shadowy areas where crimes have been committed can be unpopular, especially when powerful interests are affected.

I have the highest admiration for what you are doing and the way you are doing it.  Your courage and professionalism are clear to me and to the Government and people of Guatemala.  I know that CICIG’s investigations and prosecutorial work sometimes place you in the public eye.  At times, you have been the target of criticism.  I want you to know that the United Nations stands by your side in this search for justice and accountability.

My second reason for visiting is to learn more about your activities.  Your work is having a profound and positive impact on the future well-being of Guatemala.  But it also has important implications for our work well beyond this country’s borders — in other post-conflict transitions where we are engaged in supporting and reforming justice systems, and in our efforts to advance international criminal justice.

You may have heard me say that we are moving from an era of impunity to an age of accountability.  CICIG is helping us to make that move irreversible.

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For information media • not an official record