Guatemala: Ban lauds ‘ground-breaking’ efforts of UN-backed crime probe

Carlos Castresana, head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala

4 September 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed his strong support for the independent body set up with United Nations help to investigate the activities of illegal armed groups in Guatemala, lauding its efforts to help strengthen the country’s justice sector and rule of law.

Marking the second anniversary of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, known by its Spanish acronym CICIG, Mr. Ban commended Commissioner Carlos Castresana and his staff for their “ground-breaking” efforts.

“The people of Guatemala deserve judicial institutions they can trust and be protected by, and the United Nations is pleased to be assisting, through CICIG, towards these ends,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

The Commission, based in Guatemala City, seeks to bolster the rule of law and is permitted by its mandate to conduct independent investigations and help authorities bring representative cases to trial in national courts.

The Secretary-General called on Guatemala’s political and judicial authorities to strengthen their commitment to the fulfilment of CICIG’s mandate over the coming two years.

“He urges full respect for the Commission’s mandate and independence, and calls for prompt action on legal and institutional reform proposals made by CICIG aimed at removing obstacles to the identification and prosecution of criminal organisations,” the statement added.

Mr. Ban also encouraged the international community to continue to provide political and financial support to the Commission, which is funded entirely by voluntary contributions.

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Ban urges Guatemalan authorities to support UN-backed probe into illegal militia

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