United Nations

A/50/482


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

12 October 1995

ORIGINAL:
SPANISH


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 45


              THE SITUATION IN CENTRAL AMERICA:  PROCEDURES FOR THE
        ESTABLISHMENT OF A FIRM AND LASTING PEACE AND PROGRESS
        IN FASHIONING A REGION OF PEACE, FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY
AND DEVELOPMENT

Note by the Secretary-General


1.   This document contains  the third report of the  Director of the United
Nations Mission for the Verification of  Human Rights and of Compliance with
the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement  on Human Rights in Guatemala
(MINUGUA).   The  present document,  like the  two previous  reports of  the
Director  (A/49/856 and Corr.1  and A/49/929),  gives a  detailed account of
the  work carried  out to  date and  of problems and  progress noted  by the
Mission in fulfilling its mandate in the field.

2.  This report covers the period from 21 May to  21 August and, whereas the
format  is the  same as  in the  two former  reports  as  far as  content is
concerned,  it  sets  out  in greater  detail  the  initial steps  taken  to
implement projects relating to the institution-building.   As usual, I shall
send a  copy of  this report  to the  United Nations  High Commissioner  for
Human Rights with the  request that it be transmitted to the United  Nations
Commission on Human Rights.

3.   I should  like  to thank  the Government  of Guatemala  and the  Unidad
Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) for their continued support  and
cooperation,  without which  this  work  could not  have been  accomplished.
Similarly,  I should  like to  express my  deep gratitude  to the  Group  of
Friends of  the Guatemalan Peace Process  (Colombia, Mexico, Norway,  Spain,
the United  States of America and Venezuela) for the constant and invaluable
support  they have given  to the  Mission; to the  Governments of Argentina,
Brazil,  Canada, Colombia, Italy,  Spain and  Sweden for  having offered the
services of their military officers.





95-29218 (E)   161095  191095/...
*9529218*
 Annex

           Third report of the Director of the United Nations Mission
           for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with
           the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human
Rights in Guatemala


I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   Since its establishment  by General  Assembly resolution  48/267 of  19
September  1994, the United  Nations Mission  for the  Verification of Human
Rights  and  of   Compliance  with  the  Commitments  of  the  Comprehensive
Agreement  on  Human Rights  in  Guatemala  (MINUGUA)  has  carried out  its
mandate of  monitoring compliance  by the  Government of  Guatemala and  the
Unidad Revolucionaria  Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG)  with the  Comprehensive
Agreement  on Human  Rights, which  both  parties signed  on 29  March  1994
(A/48/928-S/1994/448, annex I).

2.   This report covers  the period  from 21  May to  21 August  1995.   The
Mission has continued to receive complaints  of alleged violations of rights
and,  in accordance with its  mandate, has pursued its  work of institution-
building. During  the period under review,  in addition  to Norway's pledged
contribution of  US$ 1  million, the  Trust Fund received  support from  the
United States of America  (US$ 500,000), from Denmark (US$ 200,000) and from
Sweden (SKr 10 million).

3.  The  parties have continued to hold  bilateral meetings as provided  for
in  the Comprehensive Agreement.   The  Director has  continued his periodic
meetings with the President  of the Republic  and, in Mexico, with the  URNG
General  Command.    Similarly,  a close  relationship  has  been maintained
between the  Mission and  its official  counterpart in  the Government,  the
Presidential Human  Rights Committee (COPREDEH),  and regular meetings  have
been held  with ministries and  State bodies involved  in the protection  of
human rights.

4.  In the Agreement on Identity  and Rights of Indigenous People, signed on
31 March 1995 (A/49/882-S/1995/256, annex), the Government of Guatemala  and
URNG agreed  to request  MINUGUA to  monitor compliance  with those  aspects
which  relate  to  human  rights  and  which  were  recognized  as requiring
immediate implementation. Accordingly, the Director,  at the request  of the
Secretary-General,  assessed whether additional resources  would be required
for that purpose.

5.   Shortly after  the issuance  of the  second report  of the  Director of
MINUGUA,  which was transmitted  to the  General Assembly  by the Secretary-
General in  his  note of  29  June  1995 (A/49/929),  the  Secretary-General
submitted a  further report (A/49/955) to  which was  annexed the Director's
assessment recommending a  six-month extension of  the Mission's mandate, to
18  March  1996, and  requesting  additional  resources to  ensure effective
implementation of this additional mandate.


 II.  CONTEXT IN WHICH THE MISSION IS OPERATING

6.   During  the  period under  review,  the Mission  operated  against  the
background  of  a  number  of  factors:    an  intensification  of political
activity,  owing to  the forthcoming  elections scheduled  for November; the
decision by URNG to declare a cease-fire for  the two-week period leading up
to the elections; the persistent climate  of violence and public insecurity;
the  announcement   by  the   President  of  the   Republic  that   military
Commissioners would  soon be demobilized; the culmination of the exhumations
from  clandestine   cemeteries;  the  controversy   over  the  practice   of
telephone-tapping; the  ongoing  peace negotiations  between the  Government
and  URNG  and the  undertaking  made  in  Contadora,  Panama, by  different
political parties to respect whatever agreements may be reached.

7.   The second  report of  the Mission  was welcomed by  the media  and the

various  sectors  of Guatemalan  society, which  described it  as objective,
fair and impartial.

8.   The country's political  agenda is dominated  by the electoral  process
now under way, which will culminate on 12 November with elections to  choose
the President and Vice-President of the  Republic, deputies to the  Congress
and the Central American  Parliament and members of municipal bodies.  If no
presidential candidate obtains an absolute majority,  there will be a second
round on 7 January 1996 between the two  candidates with the highest  number
of votes.

9.   Compared  with previous  elections,  the  registration of  parties  and
candidates  reveals the  participation of  sectors which,  in  the country's
recent  history,  have remained  outside  of  the  electoral  process.   For
example, there  has  been the  formation  of  the Frente  Democratico  Nueva
Guatemala  (FDNG) and numerous  civilian election  boards, a legal mechanism
for participation at the municipal level.  The  URNG has urged the public to
vote  and has  announced a  cease-fire from  1  to  13 November.   President
Ramiro  de Leon Carpio  has also  attempted to encourage a  high turn-out at
the  polls  by  meeting  with  representatives  of  the  political  parties.
Nevertheless, the electoral  process will  inevitably be  influenced by  the
adverse effects of the armed conflict.

10.   As regards  the registration  of  candidates, the  deadline for  which
expires on 13 September,  there is still a controversy over the candidacy of
Carlos Lopez  Giron, who  has been  accused of  the murder  of Jorge  Carpio
(para.  64) and  Juan Jose  Rodil Peralta, former  President of  the Supreme
Court of Justice, wanted by the authorities for various offences.

11.   The society has  continued to suffer  from the  climate of generalized
violence  and  public uncertainty,  as  demonstrated  by  the  high rate  of
abductions and violent deaths and by the proliferation and use of  firearms.
Violence has  even claimed  the lives of  women and children,  including the
son of  a Mexican  diplomat.   There continues to  be a  steady rise in  the
number  of  private security  companies  and  self-defence  groups, such  as
neighbourhood watch  groups, which  now number  over 1,200  at the  national
level, according to various sources.

12.   On  30 June, the President  of the Republic announced  his decision to
demobilize approximately 25,000  military Commissioners with effect from  15
September.   The  Mission emphasized  the  importance of  implementing  this
measure.    Military  Commissioners  have  been  repeatedly  identified   in
previous  Mission reports as  well as  by human  rights activists, including
the independent United Nations expert, Monica  Pinto, for their  involvement
in  acts of  violence,  harassment  and intimidation  against  the  civilian
population.

13.   The Congress of  the Republic adopted  two important  laws designed to
improve  the human rights situation:  Decree Law No. 17/73, which classifies
torture  as an  offence under  the Penal  Code, and  Decree Law  No.  60/95,
concerning the  reduction of risk  to the  inhabitants of areas  affected by
the armed confrontation, by means of the  removal and deactivation of  mines
and other explosive devices.

14.  Public attention  has also been focused  on the exhumations carried out
in clandestine  cemeteries  in Las  Dos  Erres,  Peten, and  Cuarto  Pueblo,
Quiche, as a result of efforts to cast light on  the massacre of hundreds of
inhabitants  of these localities in 1982.  In  this connection, the Minister
of Defence stated  publicly that there might  be over 40,000 corpses  buried
in clandestine cemeteries in Guatemala.

15.  The scandal in  Congress over the recording  of telephone conversations
of government officials resulted in a public debate over  telephone-tapping,
which is  a violation of the constitutionally protected right  to secrecy of
telephone  conversations.   The Vice-President  of the  Republic declared to
the press  that such  acts were  not offences  and the  Minister of  Defence

affirmed  that   the  army  was  authorized   to  listen   in  to  telephone
conversations whenever it considered it necessary.

16.    On 21  June,  the  donor countries  and  organizations  that  provide
assistance to Guatemala met  in Paris under the auspices of the World  Bank.
The  participants expressed support  for the  work of  MINUGUA, making their
assistance  contingent  upon   progress  in  the  negotiating  process   and
implementation of the Mission's recommendations.

17.   Finally, the negotiating  process was supported  publicly by the  main
political parties;  on 22 August,  at a conference organized  by the Central
American  Parliament, these  parties  endorsed the  undertaking  to  support
whatever agreements might  be reached as  being of  vital importance to  the
signatory Government.


              III.  VERIFICATION OF RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND OF
              FULFILMENT OF OTHER COMMITMENTS MADE IN THE
              COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT

18.   The Mission  has the  task of  verifying, in  particular, respect  for
those human  rights  identified by  the parties  as priority  rights and  of
monitoring  fulfilment  of   the  commitments  made  in  the   Comprehensive
Agreement.  This aspect of the Mission, which  refers to phenomena that  are
particularly important in the Guatemalan context,  makes it possible to have
a deeper  insight into  the root causes  of the human  rights violations  in
that country.

 19.    The  Government  is  the   principal  legal  and  political   entity
responsible  for the human  rights situation  in the  country.  Furthermore,
the  onus of  the majority  of  commitments  contained in  the Comprehensive
Agreement  falls on  it. Nevertheless,  as  indicated  in the  second report
(para. 18), it is the Mission's view that both the State and  URNG are bound
to  respect  human  rights  by  virtue  of the  commitments  made  under the
Comprehensive Agreement, in keeping with the  trend to broaden the  coverage
of protection of and respect for these rights by different State bodies.

20.   Certain  sections of this  report contain examples  of specific cases,
but the  conclusions  are based  on  overall  findings of  the  verification
process.   As indicated in  previous reports, the  conclusions are based not
only on  statistical data  but also  on the  problems revealed  by the  most
serious situations,  the reaction  of State  institutions and the  attention
given by the parties to the Mission's recommendations.

Commitment I.  General commitment regarding human rights

21.   Fulfilment of this commitment is  assessed both from the point of view
of the rights to  which the Agreement  gives priority  and from that of  the
attention that  the parties  pay to  the Mission's  recommendations.   These
last-mentioned, in particular  the recommendations relating to the  campaign
against impunity, have failed  to elicit any initiative  on the part  of the
Government to put  them into  practice, except  for the  establishment of  a
liaison committee,  coordinated by the  Presidential Human Rights  Committee
(COPREDEH), to work out a follow-up plan relating to the recommendations.

22.  Similarly, no follow-up on any of the recommendations contained in  the
previous report  has  been  made  by  URNG.    The  URNG  Command  has  even
questioned their justification in meetings with the Mission.

23.   On the other hand, the Government and URNG have continued to cooperate
with the  Mission.  One  case in  point during  the period under  review has
been  the Government's  prompt action  in  ensuring  that the  Mission could
operate in its central offices.

24.   The Mission Director has  expressed to the  President his concern  and
revulsion  at the  taking of  five  international hostages,  including three

United Nations  officers, on  28 June  1995;  this was  one of  a series  of
unlawful acts  aimed at  preventing the  return of  refugees to  San Antonio
Tzeja, Ixcan (para.  152).  This  act constituted  a serious  breach of  the
commitment to  cooperate, and specifically of  the Government's  duty to see
to the safety of members of the United Nations Mission (Commitment X,  para.
22 of  the Comprehensive  Agreement).   The Mission,  while recognizing  the
Government's  actions to  resettle  these  returnees, deplores  the lack  of
initiative and effectiveness on the part of  the authorities in dealing with
these  unlawful  acts and  their  perpetrators,  and  the  total absence  of
information on these events at the various United Nations offices.


 Analysis of the verification of rights accorded priority
under the Comprehensive Agreement

25.    Between  21  May  and  21 August  1995,  the  Mission  received 2,156
complaints, 424 of  which were admitted for verification.  Compared with the
previous report,  this represents  a  34  per cent  increase in  the  number
received and a 26 per cent decline in the number admitted.

26.  Out of 1,282 cases verified since the Mission was  set up, 511, or 39.8
per cent, have been closed. 1/   It was established that there was violation
in 46  per cent  of these  cases.   Slightly over  50 per  cent of  admitted
complaints are being verified in order  to gather the information  necessary
to  reach a determination.   The  difficulty in shedding light  on the facts
and the persons responsible is a typical problem in dealing with impunity.


1.  Right to life

27.   During  the  period in  question,  156  complaints  were  admitted  of
violations of the  right to life, including deaths  as a result of  breaches
of   legal   guarantees  and   extrajudicial   executions   (49),  attempted
extrajudicial  executions  (18)  and   death  threats  (89).    The  Mission
reiterates  its  deep  concern  at  the  fact  that  the  largest number  of
complaints admitted  - 36.8 per  cent - are  of violations of  the right  to
life  and that the  percentage of  cases in which the  victim actually loses
his life is increasing.   Another cause for concern is the fact that for the
vast majority of cases described in  previous reports, investigations led by
national  bodies have  not led  to  identification  and punishment  of those
responsible.

28.  A number of complaints of brutal  murders have been received where,  if
the victim was a public  figure, the incident serves as a threat to  persons
and organizations connected to  the victim; also, cases  of extreme abuse of
power  against  alleged offenders  or  ordinary  citizens, where  police  or
private matters  that could be dealt with by lawful means are settled by the
simple expedient of murder,  a trend encouraged by the corrupting effect  of
impunity and the knowledge that law-enforcement agencies are ineffectual.

29.  When the persons involved are, or are  associated with, State agents, a
number  of recurrent situations  have been noted:   absence  of summonses or
arrest  warrants,  despite  evidence  identifying  the  perpetrators;  false
testimonies  to  throw  the  investigation  off  course;  cursory   internal
investigations  exonerating  those  responsible  without  reference  to  the
courts; failure  to  enforce arrest  warrants;  persons  who flee  or  avoid
arrest; threatening and harassment of officials of institutions  responsible
for the investigation and  prosecution of an offence,  and of witnesses  and
their friends and family members or  human rights organizations involved  in
the investigation.

30.  It should be noted that many of the cases that have come to light  over
this  period involve elements  of the Treasury  Guard, and,  as indicated in
previous reports, persons with  links to, or under the control of, the army.
Others  reveal the  actions of  illicit  organizations  whose purpose  is to
commit crimes  or combat  crime by  criminal  means.   As long  as they  are

allowed  to continue unpunished,  these groups  remain a  constant threat to
the right to life.

31.    This fact  is  supported  by  a  statement  by  the Director  of  the
Department  of Forensic  Medicine of  the  Judicial Branch  indicating  that
every day,  an average of  10 to 12 corpses are brought  to the morgue, with
point-blank gunshot wounds, frequently in  the head, and with signs of their
hands having been bound.

32.   During the  period under review,  complaints of  death threats  mainly
affected  persons connected  with  human rights  organizations,  social  and
political leaders and public prosecutors.   The alleged perpetrators include
clandestine  organizations which,  while  claiming to  be  fighting  against
crime and  impunity, have been  responsible for threats  of this  kind, have
thwarted  investigations  of   crimes  against  human  rights,  caused   the
resignation  of public  prosecutors in  high-profile cases  and  intimidated
relatives and prospective new victims.

(a)  Extrajudicial executions or deaths in violation of legal guarantees

Case 1

33.  On  24 June, the body of  Manuel Saquic Vasquez, an evangelical  pastor
and  Coordinator   of  the   Human  Rights   Committee  of  the   Kakchiquel
Presbyterian Church in Chimaltenango, was found with 33  stab wounds, a slit
throat and  signs of having been  tortured.  The  Magistrate and the  police
witnessed the removal  of the body,  which was  then buried  in an  unmarked
grave, despite the fact  that it was public knowledge that he had previously
disappeared.  Negligence  by State  institutions in charge of  investigating
the case caused a delay in exhuming the body.

34.     Official  investigations  lay  the   blame  on   a  former  military
commissioner, also  on trial for  the murder of Pascual  Serech, the founder
of  the Panajabal Human  Rights Committee  and a member of  the same church.
The delay in  investigating the case has been  compounded by the failure  to
enforce the arrest warrant of the accused, who  has been frequently seen  in
Chimaltenango.  According  to witnesses,  he has  gathered  his cohorts  and
announced to  them that Saquic's murder  will be followed  by that of  other
members  of  the  church.  Judicial  officials   and  staff  of  the  Public
Prosecutor's  Office  have reported  that  they  have  been  watched by  and
received threats from the accused and his two sons, who belong  to the army.
Saquic's relatives and colleagues have also  received threats.  The  Mission
Director has described the murder as having very grave implications for  the
respect for human  rights, pointing out that it  was not a common crime  but
one designed to intimidate  organizations and persons who work in defence of
those rights.

Case 2

35.   On 13  April, the  body of  Nery Lopez was  found on  the road between
Tecum Uman and Ocos, San Marcos.  On the previous day, while having a  drink
in  a bar opposite  the Treasury  Guard building in Puente  Melendez, he had
had an altercation with  the chief of that  post, who  then took him to  the
premises of the Treasury Guard.  As a result of the  internal Treasury Guard
investigation, it  was determined  that the  police chief  detained him  and
took  him  into  custody;  this  was  the  last  time  he  was  seen  alive.
Nevertheless, up  to the time  when this case  was closed, no  one had  been
prosecuted, and the person involved was  appointed Departmental Chief of the
Treasury Guard in San Marcos.

Case 3

36.  On 20  April, in San  Jose, Escuintla, two individuals shot  and killed
Marvin Martinez Corado.  Several witnesses  have consistently given the same
description  and reported  the registration  plates  of  the vehicle  of the
attackers, claiming that they are officials  from the paratrooper's base  in

the  area.   The  deputy  chief confirmed  that the  vehicle belonged  to an
official of  the base  who had passed  by the  scene of  the murder  shortly
before  the   incident.  Within  five   days,  the  internal   investigation
established that  the officers  were innocent.   Since  the end of  May, the
public prosecutor  has relied on the  witnesses' statements identifying  the
vehicle but has not sought official information on  it.  The most  important
witness has been the target of harassment and has been  followed by the same
vehicle used  in the crime.   A similar arbitrary  execution attempt in  the
area and the fact  that officers from the  base have described  the victim's
family  as criminals  suggest that  the motive  could be  the illegal  fight
against crime.

(b)  Death threats

Case 1

37.   Julio  Arango Escobar,  a public  prosecutor in the  so-called "Bamaca
case" (para. 61), received several threats over the  telephone.  On 22 June,
shots were  fired at the Public  Prosecutor's Office,  destroying the window
beneath  his office.   A  few weeks  later, he  abandoned the  case,  citing
personal reasons.

Case 2

38.   On  28  June,  two members  of the  Voluntary Civil  Defence Committee
(CVDC) of Xemal attacked and tried to kill Miguel Godinez Domingo, a  member
of  the  Committee for  Peasant  Unity  in  El  Chorro, Huehuetenango,  with
machetes.  When they did not succeed, they accused him of  being a guerrilla
and threatened to kill him.


2.  Right to integrity and security of person

39.   During the  period under  review, 87 complaints of  violations of this
right were  admitted, representing  20.5 per  cent  of the  total number  of
complaints.  Many complaints  again concerned  cases  of torture,  the  most
serious  type  of  violation of  this  right.    The  National  Police  were
responsible for  many  cases of  torture  and  cruel, inhuman  or  degrading
treatment  during the  investigation or  prosecution  of ordinary  crimes, a
situation  that  was aggravated  by  distortion  of  the  facts in  official
accounts in order  to cover up for the perpetrators.  The  right to personal
security was  violated  by threats  made  by  public officials  for  various
purposes, including extortion.

 (a)  Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

Case 1

40.   On 13 July,  Juan Colindres and  Antonio Rivera were  arrested by  the
National  Police  of Pueblo  Nuevo,  Escuintla,  on  a  charge of  attempted
robbery.   They  state that  the  police subjected  them to  blows, electric
shocks and hooding with  a view to extracting  confessions.  They were taken
to  Granja Penal  Canada prison,  where MINUGUA  observed the  signs  of ill
treatment a week later.  The local National  Police chief denied the  facts,
adding  that  the  prison refused  to  admit injured  persons.   The  prison
director  contradicted the  police version,  agreeing with  the victims that
they had  been injured at the  time of admission.   An investigation by  the
Office  of Professional  Accountability  identified the  officers  allegedly
responsible.

Case 2

41.  On 4 July, Daniel  Sky Callahan, a United States citizen working at the
invitation of the  Commission on Human  Rights of Guatemala,  was beaten  by
three  soldiers in the  Plaza Central in Guatemala City  as he was filming a
peasant demonstration.  He was placed  under guard until the night of 7 July

in District No. 1 of the capital.  Unknown individuals  held him for an hour
in a vehicle, threatening him with reprisals if he remained in the  country.
Before setting  him free, they  beat him, especially  in the  genitals.  The
doctor stated that  he had also been hit  in the abdomen,  the lumbar region
and the neck by  a person wearing boots.   The victim left  the country  and
had to undergo surgery.

Case 3

42.   On 18 July,  Juan Suchite Perez  was arrested and  severely beaten  by
officers of  the National  Police of Gualan,  Zacapa, who were  joined by  a
civilian.  According  to  the  victim,  an  attempt was  made  to  abuse him
sexually in  the police  station, and  relatives who  tried to  come to  his
assistance were held  at gunpoint.  The police  attributed the marks on  his
neck to attempted suicide, an unlikely  story under the conditions obtaining
in the  place of detention.   No arrest warrant has  been issued to date  in
the legal investigation.

Case 4

43.   On 10 July, in Santa  Elena, Peten, three National Police officers and
two civilians  entered the house  of Edgar Reina without  an arrest warrant,
charging  him with  robbery.   Witnesses state  that he  was beaten  by  his
captors  on  the  way to  the  Santa  Elena  police  station.   The  medical
certificate requested  by the judge  was not furnished  on the  pretext that
"his  release had been ordered on the day following his arrest".  The police
defended their  behaviour  on the  grounds  that  the person  concerned  had
struck the officers  and attempted to escape,  "falling on the ground, which
accounts for his injuries".

 (b)  Other threats to the right to integrity and security of person

Case 1

44.   On 15 May, in  San Cristobal, Totonicapan,  members of the  Guatemalan
Widows' Coordinating Committee  (CONAVIGUA), returning from  a demonstration
in vans, were intercepted  by officers of the National Police.  Forcing them
to  alight at  gunpoint, they accused  them of being  guerrilla fighters and
threatened them  with  arrest.   After  holding them  for  45 minutes,  they
demanded  money in return for  not arresting them  and seizing the vehicles.
There are reports of similar cases  involving police officers of sub-station
Cuatro Caminos of the National Police in Totonicapan.

Case 2

45.  On  31 May, in Poptun,  Peten, officials of  the General  Department of
Forestry and the Treasury  Guard mounted an operation  to stop illegal  wood
trafficking.    The  driver of  a  lorry  carrying  a  load  of wood,  after
identifying  himself as a Treasury Guard officer, drew his weapon to prevent
inspection.  When the officials  reported the  incident to  the Inspector of
the Treasury Guard, he threatened to arrest them  if they continued with the
operations.

46.  The Mission received new complaints of threats from elements  connected
with the army against judicial officials,  persons branded as subversives or
persons  who  do  not  patrol  in  the  Voluntary  Civil  Defence Committees
(CVDCs).

47.   There have also been further complaints of threats  by elements of the
Unidad  Revolucionaria  Nacional  Guatemalteca  (URNG) against  agricultural
landowners in order  to obtain  payment of the  so-called "war tax"  (paras.
145 ff.).


3.  Right to individual liberty

48.   There were  43 complaints  of violations  of this right,  representing
10.1  per cent  of the  total number  of complaints.   The  large  number of
arbitrary detentions,  in most cases practised  ostensibly in  the course of
law  enforcement  and  in some  cases  involving  unnecessary  and excessive
violence,  is again  significant.  They  are carried out  by National Police
officers, sometimes  accompanied by civilians,  without a warrant or without
the victims  being caught  in  flagrante  delicto.   Police reports  may  be
altered  to  make it  appear  that  the  victims  were  caught in  flagrante
delicto,  that there  were errors  in the  report  or  even that  the arrest
itself never  took place.   There  have been  further reports of  arrests by
military  commissioners, CVDC members  and deputy  mayors, none  of whom has
legal authority to make such arrests.

(a)  Arbitrary or illegal detention

Case 1

49.  In  the morning of 27 June  1995, in Chelajop, Totonicapan, members  of
the  military arrested  Luis Alvarado Cajchun, Agustin  Vazquez Cop, Antonio
Castro Tax,  Pedro Puajpacaja and Santos Castro as they  were gathering wood
for their own use.  A soldier forced Alvarado to lie  down on the ground and
was  beating him on the back  with the barrel of his rifle when the gun went
off. The  victim had to be  hospitalized.  After making  a statement to  the
justice of the peace, the persons in question  remained in detention for two
days.   The military  side states  that the  victims were felling  trees and
violently resisted arrest,  but it was found  on investigation that no  such
offence  had been committed and  they had been arbitrarily detained and ill-
treated.    The  Mission  is  following  the  legal  proceedings,  which are
seriously flawed.

Case 2

50.   Diego  Tum  Gonzalez, of  the  village  of  Buena Vista,  Quiche,  was
arrested  on 27 April  by the  military commissioner, the  deputy mayor, the
second in command  and two CVDC  members with  the aim of  making him pay  a
fine for not patrolling in November and December  1994.  The victim remained
in detention  for  24  hours  in the  prison  cell  at the  mayor's  office.
Leaving aside the  fact that they have no  legal authority to make  arrests,
the  captors  sought  to  justify  their  behaviour  by  alleging  that  the
authorities had  been insulted.  They  admitted, however,  that their action
had been influenced by the unpaid fine.

Case 3

51.    On 4  July,  in  Huehuetenango, a  teacher  was arrested  at  the bus
terminal by two plain-clothes National Police  officers, who took him to the
police station. Interrogating him while he  was semi-naked, they charged him
with robbery and  insulted him for  being a  teacher.   Although a  judicial
order of release was transmitted to the warden on 6 July, the latter,  under
the influence of  alcohol, ordered  that he should  remain in detention  for
another night.  The victim was finally released on  7 July, after a relative
had been forced to bribe the warden.

(b)  Enforced disappearances

52.  The number  of complaints during the period concerning alleged enforced
disappearances   declined  to   two  cases,   which  are   currently   being
investigated.


4.  Right to due legal process

53.   During the  period in  question, 60  complaints of  violations of  due
process were admitted, accounting  for 15.1 per cent  of the total number of
complaints. With  regard to  earlier cases,  there has  been no  significant
progress  in the  judicial investigations  or  in  sentencing.   The Mission

continues  to be very  seriously concerned  about this  situation of virtual
denial of justice, especially regarding the  rights to life and integrity of
person.

54.   Impunity has been  facilitated, in the  case of both  new and  earlier
complaints, by the  failure to undertake inquiries that could have been made
in a timely manner.  In  the case of a number of serious offences, including
some that  led to a pubic  outcry or were perpetrated  in areas  with a high
crime  rate,  the Public  Prosecutor's  Office  has  failed  to initiate  an
investigation or to appoint  a prosecutor.  It has been noted on a number of
occasions that  the competent  bodies have  failed to  take statements  from
witnesses, that arrest warrants  have not been  issued in spite of  evidence
or else  have not  been served,  and that  persons involved in  very serious
offences have  been allowed to  escape or have  been improperly  released on
bail.

55.   According to  the verification  process, the  fact that  little or  no
progress has been  made in the  investigation of  the majority  of cases  is
basically due  to the lack  of will  or ability on  the part  of the  Public
Prosecutor's  Office  to  conduct  criminal  proceedings  and  the  lack  of
forcefulness  of  its  highest  authority  in  implementing  the   necessary
corrective measures.   This is especially true where persons belonging to or
associated with the Army  are involved in cases  for which the investigation
has been  brought to  a halt  under  pressure. The  public prosecutors  have
complained  about   this  military   interference  in   an  area   of  State
jurisdiction.  In  the face of such pressure  and even serious threats,  the
authorities  have  failed to  take timely  action in  support of  the public
prosecutors.

Case 1

56.  With  regard to the extrajudicial  execution of Apolo Ariosto  Carranza
Vallar, following  verification of the existence of a judicial order to bury
the body without investigating  the case (para. 39  of the second report), a
witness and former  police collaborator provided new information  concerning
the identity of  the culprits and the circumstances  of the crime.  Yet  the
prosecutor of the case  was appointed almost two months after the victim was
exhumed.

Case 2

57.   On  13  July, the  judicial  reconstruction  and  deposition  of  oral
evidence took  place in  the case  of Juan  Chanay  Pablo, a  member of  the
Committee for  Peasant Unity of Colotenango  killed by CVDC members during a
peasant  demonstration.  MINUGUA  noted the  unequal treatment  given by the
judge to  the witnesses  from  the two  sides.   The  15  witnesses for  the
defence had  three days  to give evidence,  while the 30  witnesses for  the
prosecution had only one day and were  seriously hampered by the lack  of an
interpreter.

Case 3

58.   There has  been practically no  investigation of the  threats made  in
April  1995 against Maria  Miranda Berdugo,  local leader  of CONAVIGUA, and
Alfredo Temaj  Perezen, a member of another human rights organization in San
Isidro, San Marcos.   The Public Prosecutor's Office merely sent an official
communication to military zone 18, asking  whether the accused were military
commissioners  and   receiving  no   reply.     Initially,  the   prosecutor
responsible for the case  said that if they were commissioners "they  cannot
be summoned  because they  enjoy special  privileges".   The Mission's  view
that  a threat is  not an  "essentially military" offence and  does not fall
exclusively within  that military  jurisdiction was  subsequently shared  by
the prosecutor, who  continued his  work, albeit  with some  delay, on  that
premise.

 Case 4

59.   On 25  April, in  the Santa  Rosa market, Santa  Rosa, National Police
officers  of Chiquimulilla  illegally and  arbitrarily arrested  Lucas  Luch
Pulul, a minor  of the Quiche  ethnic group,  without informing  him of  the
reason for his arrest.  He was charged  before the judge with belonging to a
gang of  thieves and taken to Santa Rosa  prison.  As at  6 July, he had not
been assisted by  a defence counsel  or an  interpreter.   His complaint  of
having been beaten in the  prison compound has not been investigated either.
At the time of writing of  this report, the legal file had been lost and the
minor was still illegally detained.

Case 5

60.   In July, Juan Mendoza  of the Kawabil Peasant Council was detained for
15 days in  Huehuetenango prison, charged by the  chief of the Chejoj  CVDCs
with usurpation of land and with "using insulting  language".  He could  not
make  a statement or answer  the charges before the judge because, according
to himself, he speaks "only Mam and not Spanish" and he had no interpreter.

Cases cited in previous reports under this commitment

61.   In the  trial for the murder  of URNG commander Efrain  Bamaca (paras.
66-67 of the  first report  and para. 66  of the  second), on  3 August  the
Court of Appeal established  as a Military Appeal  Court heard the complaint
filed  by  the  Public  Prosecutor's  Office  and  overruled  the  dismissal
decision by the Military  Court of First  Instance in favour of 15  soldiers
allegedly  implicated.   As the  military  judges sitting  in the  Court  of
Appeal refused to sign  the decision, the Supreme  Court had to  order their
replacement by  alternate  judges.   Digging  and  exhumation in  the  place
where, according to reports communicated  to the Department of  State of the
United States, Bamaca's body was allegedly  interred were suspended on three
occasions, and  the Public Prosecutor's  Office has  so far  been unable  to
complete the  exhumation.   The soldiers' defence  counsel exerted  pressure
and employed  delaying  tactics to  prevent it,  even citing  orders by  the
President of the Republic.

62.   The prosecutor Julio Arango Escobar, who took over  the case on 11 May
1995,   complained  of  being  subjected  to  pressure,  death  threats  and
intimidation (para. 37).  This prompted a decision by the Counsel for  Human
Rights requiring the  competent bodies to assist  the prosecutor in his work
through the  requisite cooperation  and guarantees.   Finally,  on 1  August
1995 he resigned, repeating to the Mission that he was not receiving  proper
support from his own institution. During a period  of nine months, the  case
has had three prosecutors,  and virtually no  progress has been made in  the
investigation.

63.   The investigation of the execution of Myrna Mack  (paras. 68-69 of the
first report  and para. 64  of the second) is still  at a standstill because
the  Public  Prosecutor's   Office  has   utterly  failed   to  fulfil   its
obligations.   Since December  1994 it has neither  assigned a prosecutor to
the  case  nor   instituted  criminal  proceedings,  despite  the  lack   of
impediments, so that the  right to justice has  been denied.   The obstacles
to the  appointment of  a prosecutor  reflect the  fear of officials  in the
Public Prosecutor's Office and  of lawyers to take part in a case  involving
the military.
  64.  In  the trial concerning the murder of Jorge Carpio Nicolle (para. 70
of the first  report and para. 65 of  the second), the prosecutor  confirmed
to the  Congress on 29 May  1995 the existence and  loss of  the report from
the Quiche military zone concerning an  internal investigation of the  case,
which had been submitted  to the military staff in August 1993.  At the time
of the  crime, the judge did not issue an admonition to the former assistant
director of  the National  Police, who  should have  made a statement  as an
expert  witness but  who was  sent to  the  United States  for a  course  of
studies just as the  judge was about to start taking evidence.  The judicial
decision to  amend the arrest warrant  returned the  investigation to square
one, since  it insisted  on involving  only common  criminals, although  the
records contain new evidence that discredits  the initial hypothesis.   Both

the prosecutor and relatives  claim to have sufficient evidence to show that
the fourfold  crime, for which the  modus operandi was  an ambush and  whose
chief  perpetrators  were  allegedly  members  of  a  CVDC,  was politically
motivated, rather than the work of  common criminals as recently  maintained
by the  President of the Republic  himself.  This is  another case in  which
the continuous harassment of a prosecutor has not  met with a firm  response
on the part of the highest authorities of the Public Prosecutor's Office.

65.  The  trial concerning the murder of three  workers on the San Juan  del
Horizonte  farm  (La Exacta)  in  Quetzaltenango  (para.  67  of the  second
report)  has  made  no progress.    Four months  ago,  the Attorney  General
undertook to  appoint a  prosecutor, a  court officer  and an official  with
special responsibility  for the  case, but  no action  has been taken.   The
Coatepeque  Court  has   also  been  unjustifiably  dilatory,  for   example
neglecting  to  reply  for  three  months   to  requests  to  authorize  the
interrogation of the National Police officers involved in the eviction.

66.  With regard to  the investigation into the murder of the student  Mario
Alioto Lopez  Sanchez  (para. 74  of  the  first  report), both  the  Public
Prosecutor's  Office  and  the  judiciary  have  remained  totally  passive.
Although little  time is  left to draw  up formal  charges against  National
Police officers,  the metropolitan district  prosecutor has  taken no  great
interest in  the investigation  of his  assistant prosecutor;  the Court  of
Second Instance,  for its  part, has  employed delaying  tactics on  several
occasions.  The investigation  by the Office  of Professional Accountability
ended  last March  without an  analysis of  the plan of  action used  by the
National Police  at the student demonstration  or of  the responsibility of,
inter  alia, Carlos  V. Escobar  Fernandez, second  in command of  the Fifth
Corps of the National Police,  who was subsequently arrested  by court order
at the request of San Carlos University  and the Public Prosecutor's Office,
which shows the reluctance of the National Police to investigate the case.


5.  Political rights

67.    The  Mission  received  a   small  number  of  complaints  concerning
specifically political rights, a  fact that should be assessed in the  light
of a  political environment  with little  tradition of  participation and  a
context  fraught with violence.   The  Mission is  particularly concerned by
acts  of violence against political candidates and  figures registered since
the  announcement  of elections:    the  murders  of  the  mayor of  Moyuta,
Jutiapa, who  was running for a congressional seat, of  candidates for mayor
of  La Democracia,  Huehuetenango, and  San  Lucas  Toliman, Solola,  of two
activists  campaigning  in San  Jeronimo,  Baja  Verapaz,  and  of a  senior
political  party leader in  Peten; the  attempted kidnapping  of a candidate
for mayor of Nuevo Palmar, Quetzaltenango;  physical assaults on a candidate
for mayor  of Momostenango, Totonicapan;  an attack on  the house  of Efrain
Rios Montt and another on the residence of the mayor of Chiquimula.

68.  With regard  to the electoral authority, the Mission has taken stock of
the good  public image of  the Supreme Electoral  Tribunal in  terms of both
its financing and the professionalism of its  magistrates and officials.  In
addition, it  has verified  the smooth  functioning of  its delegations  and
sub-delegations.    However,  an  institutional  difficulty  that  seriously
discourages  electoral participation  is the fact that  the Tribunal offices
and  branch offices  are  confined  by law  to municipal  capitals,  so that
persons living in remote areas have difficulty in registering.

69.   With  regard to  the right  to enrolment  in the  citizens'  register,
almost  one  third  of the  voting-age  population  are still  unregistered,
mainly  owing  to  the  lack of  basic  documentation.   This  deficiency is
particularly  prevalent among  women in  rural  areas  and the  returned and
displaced  population.   In that  connection, adoption  of  the bill  on the
personal  documentation  of the  country's  displaced  population  is  still
pending (para. 69 of the second report).

70.  With regard to the  November elections, the electoral roll closed on 12
August,  remaining  open   for  amendment  and  purging  until  12  October.
According  to  provisional   figures,  the  roll  contains  over   3,600,000
individuals, representing an increase of more  than 100,000 persons over the
roll  under  which  the  1994  referendum  was  held  (3,480,196  registered
voters).  These figures  indicate that about 70  per cent of  the population
of voting age, i.e., over 18 years of age, is registered to vote.

71.    There are  significant  differences  in  the  electoral roll  between
registration rates for men and women  and between the country's  departments
and   municipalities.      These   differences   reflect   both   historical
circumstances of  political demobilization and  lack of basic  documentation
and new circumstances of greater participation.   The proportion of women on
the  roll, at  about 40  per  cent,  is less  than their  proportion in  the
country's overall population,  which is about  52 per  cent.   The rates  of
female voter  registration  are higher  than  the  national average  in  the
departments  of  Guatemala,  Chimaltenango,  Retalhuleu,  Sacatepequez   and
Quetzaltenango, with Guatemala  heading the list  at 48  per cent.   On  the
other hand, female  enrolment is lower than  the national average  in Peten,
Chiquimula, Jalapa, Solola, San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Quiche, Alta  Verapaz
and Totonicapan,  the proportion in  the last-mentioned  department being 22
per cent.

72.  The proportion  of registered voters is  above the national  average of
70  per cent  in  the  departments of  Guatemala, Chiquimula,  Zacatepequez,
Santa Rosa, Quezaltenango, Retalhuleu, Zacapa, Jutiapa  and El Progreso;  in
the  last three departments  mentioned, the proportion is  about 90 per cent
of  the population over 18 years  of age.   On the other hand, the enrolment
rate  is less than  the national  average in  Izabal, Huehuetenango, Solola,
Escuintla, Peten,  Totonicapan, Quiche and Alta  Verapaz; in  the last three
departments  mentioned,  the  proportion  is  about   50  per  cent  of  the
population over 18 years of age.

73.   With regard to  the right to hold public  office, the Mission verified
that registration of citizens' electoral committees,  the deadline for which
expired on  12 August, proceeded  normally.  According  to data  provided by
the  Political Organizations Division of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, 144
committees have been registered.  In  addition, the Mission closely followed
the  process of  registration  of  candidacies  of the  different  political
parties, the deadline for which expired on 12 September.

74.  With regard  to the right to  participate in political  activities, the
Mission is monitoring the election campaign,  in particular the State's duty
to guarantee the  full exercise of that right  by all citizens and the  duty
of URNG not to obstruct its effective enjoyment.


6.  Freedom of expression

75.   During the period in  question, three  complaints regarding violations
of this  right were received,  bringing the  figure above that  indicated in
the  preceding  report.    One  complaint,  which   is  in  the  process  of
verification,  concerns the exercise  of the  profession of  journalism; the
others involve the freedom of expression  of individuals working to  promote
human rights.

Case 1

76.   On  16 July, during  a meeting  between MINUGUA  and the  community of
Amatxel, Quiche,  a  member of  the  Defensoria  Maya (Mayan  Legal  Defence
Office)  had  begun  to  read  out  various  reports  concerning  local CVDC
meetings.   The head  and  several  members of  the Committee  attempted  to
prevent this, claiming  that he had  no right  to write  about or  publicize
reports on the situation in the municipality.  MINUGUA  observers noted that
the  aggressors  seized the  Mayan  Legal  Defence  Office  representative's
documents and destroyed them.


7.  Freedom of movement

77.  The  Mission has verified new  complaints that URNG members  restricted
freedom of movement by  setting up roadblocks, some of them on major  roads,
thereby impeding  free movement  and causing unwarranted damage  to civilian
property.

Case 1

78.   On the morning  of 25 June,  on La  Trinidad bridge along  the coastal
highway leading to El  Salvador, Santa Rosa,  five heavily armed persons  in
olive green uniforms blocked the road  with lorries, shooting at  the tyres.
They  identified themselves as  members of  URNG and  stated that  they were
staging a public protest against the  Government.  Police officers  reopened
the road to traffic four hours later.

 79.   In the process  of verifying  other violations committed  by military
commissioners  and members of  CVDC, violations  of the  freedom of movement
committed with impunity were also revealed in connection with  the return of
refugees.


8.  Freedom of association

80.  Although no complaints were  received about violations directly  linked
to  trade  union  activities  during  the  period  in  question,  complaints
continued to be received  of violations of the  right to swift and effective
justice,  involving  leaders  or  workers  who  were subjected  to  threats,
dismissed or subjected to reprisals  because they organized  themselves into
trade unions  or asserted their  interests as  workers.   Reports also  were
received of  situations involving  the right  to freedom  of association  of
non-governmental  organizations  (para.  132), and  the  Mission  is in  the
process of verifying  administrative obstacles that such organizations  face
when seeking legal status.

81.    Despite  the  fact that  Guatemalan  legislation  protects  organized
workers  who  have filed  suit and  compels employers  by judicial  order to
reinstate  those  who have  been  dismissed  within  24  hours, the  Mission
verified a number of cases involving  dismissed agricultural workers who had
not  been reinstated  even though  six months  had  passed since  the labour
tribunal had issued the relevant order.

Case 1

82.  In October  1994, three trade union  leaders from  the El Arco farm  in
Suchitepequez were  dismissed after forming a  committee for  the purpose of
improving their working  conditions.   During the  verification process,  it
was learned  that  the  labour  judge had  taken  two  months to  order  the
workers' reinstatement  and another  four months to  notify their  employer.
Even  so,  the  workers  still   have  not  been  reinstated.    The  Public
Prosecutor's Office and  the Mazatenango  police have  refused to  act on  a
complaint filed by one of the  workers that he had been subjected to threats
and violently evicted.

Commitment II.    Strengthening  institutions for  the protection  of  human
rights

Judiciary and Public Prosecutor's Office

83.   Verification activities  during the  period in  question indicate that
judges and prosecutors  have again been  subjected to  threats, intimidation
and  even attacks on  their person.   As a general  rule, the Government has
not taken steps to  protect such officials  and, what is even more  serious,
has neither  investigated  nor imposed  any  punishment  in the  many  cases
involving acts perpetrated, assisted or tolerated by State agents.

84.   Previous reports by MINUGUA  have repeatedly  underscored how severely
the  work  of  judges  and  prosecutors  is  affected  by  the intimidation,
pressure and threats  to which they are subjected  and by the fact that they
receive  scant assistance  from  the  police  and  other  public  officials.
Although aware  of the  situation, the  Government has  neither devised  nor
implemented a policy to  combat the phenomenon, nor  has it instituted  in a
timely  manner preventive and  protective measures  that are  required.  The
Government's  failure  to take  action  has  intensified  the feeling  among
judges  and prosecutors that their  personal safety is in  jeopardy and that
they  have no  support in  the discharge  of  their duties.   The  cases  of
prosecutors Julio  Arango (para.  40) and  Abraham Mendez (para.  43 of  the
first report and para. 96 of this report) illustrate this situation.

Support for the Counsel for Human Rights

85.   The Mission examined  the Counsel's publicly expressed claims that the
Government, by failing to strengthen this  institution, was in violation  of
the  Comprehensive  Agreement.   MINUGUA  also  considered  the  President's
response,  which  acknowledged the  validity  of  the Counsel's  claims  and
stated that they  provided grounds for  the State to  revise its  decisions;
the President also said  that he had reminded  his ministers that  they must
obey the  resolutions of  the Counsel  and that  they were  required by  the
Constitution  to  cooperate   with  him.  Verification  revealed  that   the
President's instructions  did not result in  an improvement  in the attitude
of State institutions during the period under review.

86.  Although it  recognizes that it is  the responsibility of  the Congress
to  approve the  budget, the  Mission  is not  aware of  any  action  by the
Government  to improve  the technical  and material  conditions available to
the  Counsel in  carrying out  his  tasks  of investigation,  monitoring and
follow-up  to ensure the enjoyment  of human rights in  Guatemala, as called
for by the Comprehensive Agreement.

Commitment III.  Commitment against impunity

87.   Impunity, which the  Mission has called  the most  serious obstacle to
the enjoyment of human  rights in Guatemala, is a factor whose existence has
increasingly become  a source of profound  concern and a  spur to action  in
Guatemalan society.  The Congress demonstrated  a particular interest in the
matter during its meeting  with MINUGUA to discuss  its second report, and a
number  of  legislative  initiatives  to  deal  with  the  phenomenon   were
envisaged. The  rampant nature  of impunity has heightened  public awareness
at all  levels and  has led  to the  establishment of organizations  such as
"Madres  Angustiadas" (Anguished  Mothers), which  are working  to  mobilize
society and  exert pressure on the  competent institutions  to end impunity.
On  a   very  positive  note,  these   and  other   sectors,  including  the
communications  media,  the  churches  and  other  institutions,  have  been
expressing concern about this phenomenon, demonstrating a growing  awareness
of how serious a problem impunity has become, and of the need to combat it.

88.   This  section analyses  the  components  of impunity,  with particular
emphasis on the  institutions responsible for preventing, investigating  and
combating it.

(a)The  defective  functioning  of  the  Public  Prosecutor's  Office,   the
judiciary and the  security forces responsible  for preventing and punishing
crime

89.  The Mission  has stated that correcting the lack of coordination  among
the  Public  Prosecutor's  Office, the  judiciary  and  the National  Police
should  be a  key component  of  the  required comprehensive  policy against
impunity  (para. 203  of the  second report).    In the  absence of  such  a
policy, this lack of coordination persists and seems  to be insoluble.  Even
worse,  it  is perpetuated  by  the  defensive  stance  of the  institutions
concerned,  all of which  attempt to  justify their  shortcomings by blaming
one  another:    prosecutors  assert  that   they  are  unable  to   conduct

investigations because  they receive no help  from the  police; the National
Police claim  that they  lack the  legal authority  and logistical  means to
act;  and judges  assert that  they do  not  have  enough evidence  to issue
arrest warrants.  The peculiar characteristics  of the phenomenon cannot  be
explained  solely by such  arguments; rather, they can  be attributed to the
fact that the supreme authorities of the State  have no decisive policy  for
overcoming the  often observed unwillingness  to investigate and  administer
punishment, and to  the lack  of coordination  among the  bodies having  the
legal duty to take such action.


Public Prosecutor's Office

90.  In general, verification of the performance  of the Public Prosecutor's
Office  has   revealed  a   very  inadequate  understanding  of   the  basic
information needed to devise a strategic  policy for investigating crime,  a
lack of knowledge as to how to organize  this effort and a poor relationship
with the National Police.  These factors are  among the structural causes of
the Office's weakness in the campaign against impunity.

91.   The Mission also  has observed that, in most  of the cases considered,
investigations are paralysed primarily by the  lack of a clear institutional
willingness to prosecute crimes involving members of the army,  army-related
personnel or agents of  the security forces.   One example is  the attempted
murder,  on  28  June,  of  a  member of  the  Comite  de  Unidada Campesina
(Committee for Peasant Unity)  attributed to two members of a patrol in  the
municipality  of Xemal; two  months after  the crime  an investigation still
has not been  launched because the responsible prosecutor claims he does not
have the time.

92.   The Mission  noted many  instances in  which officials  of the  Public
Prosecutor's  Office  were  unwilling  to  follow  up  on  complaints.    Of
particular concern  are the many  cases in which complainants  are told that
"they personally  would have  to  bear the  burden of  the investigation  if
criminal proceedings were initiated", an allusion  to the fact that they not
only would  have to pay  the costs of  the Office's  investigation, but also
would be putting their lives in danger.

93.   The  strong  public statements  by the  Attorney  General, which  many
sources  interpreted as forecasting  the adoption  of a  decisive policy for
winning back public trust in the institution,  have not been translated into
concrete action. For example, no meaningful  or exemplary measures have been
adopted following  serious mistakes  by  prosecutors which  might result  in
there being no judicial investigations of  very serious and sensitive  cases
(second report,  para. 66). Even  in cases in  which the  crime victims were
officials  of  the Public  Prosecutor's Office,  no particular  interest was
shown in  investigating the  facts.   An excellent  example is  the case  of
Abraham Mendez, a prosecutor who was interrogated twice  in late May in  the
Attorney   General's  office  by  persons  identified  as   members  of  the
President's staff.   Efforts to intimidate  him have  continued, including a
night raid at  one of the locations where he  works, since he has no  office
of  his own  in the Public  Prosecutor's Office.   Thus far, the  Office has
failed to  investigate these  acts or the  attempt on his  life in  November
1994.


Judiciary

94.    The  previous report  stated  that  most  members  of  the  judiciary
discharge  their responsibilities with  independence, judicial integrity and
determination. Nevertheless, shortcomings of  the judiciary - such as delays
in  issuing arrest  warrants or  overly broad  criteria for  release on bail
with security,  particularly in cases involving  serious crimes (paras.  53-
60) - also have been shown to encourage impunity.

95.  The Mission views with even greater  concern cases involving judges who

obviously take decisions which  encourage impunity.  This  was the case of a
circuit judge posted at  Solola in June who  in just a  few weeks  dismissed
more  than a  dozen  cases, some  involving  agents  of  the State  who  had
committed  serious violations  of human  rights.   The Mission  has not  yet
learned  the conclusions  of the special  committee of the  Supreme Court of
Justice established to study this matter.

96.  Under  the Constitution, jurisdiction is  vested solely in  judges, who
preserve their  independence both within and  outside the  judiciary and are
answerable  only to  the  law.   MINUGUA  is deeply  concerned  at  attempts
originating  both   outside  the  judiciary   and  in  internal   procedures
implemented  by   the  judiciary  -   to  interfere   with  the  judiciary's
independence, since  such attempts have  an impact  on those  constitutional
prerogatives and undermine the campaign against impunity.

97.   This independence  is jeopardized from the  outside by threats against
judges, a situation  which the Supreme  Court of Justice has  condemned, and
by the  fact that military  judges of first  instance are  based in military
zones and thus are  subject to the influence of or pressure from individuals
having a personal or institutional interest in the cases before them.

98.   Internally, the independence of  judges also is restricted by problems
which  can undermine their  role in  the campaign against  impunity, such as
the non-existence of the principle of continuity.   This may be ascribed  to
the fact that the Supreme Court may reassign  judges at any time and for any
reason,  which can lead to manoeuvring  in an attempt to remove a judge from
a particular  case and  can affect  the  routine work  of the  courts.   For
example, during a  period of  only three months,  five judges presided  over
the  second criminal court of  first instance of  Cuilapa, a situation which
the last judge used to excuse the  paralysis of the judicial  investigation,
adding  that  the only  official  knowledgeable  about  the  cases had  been
transferred and had not been replaced.

99.  The judiciary's  independence is also  undermined by the imposition  of
disciplinary measures, which may even include  removal, by the Supreme Court
acting on the  basis of reports of the  Office of Court Supervision.   There
are no rules governing  this procedure and it  has resulted in violations of
due  process,  admitted  by  the  Constitutional  Court, which  ordered  the
reinstatement of a number of judges who had been removed.


National Police

100.   The  National Police  Command,  through  its Office  of  Professional
Accountability,  continued  to  pursue  internal  investigations  of  police
officers involved in violations of human  rights, both on its own initiative
and  in response  to information  from  MINUGUA.   Although  it acknowledges
their value,  the Mission  must point  out that  while such  efforts are  by
their  very  nature effective  in  resolving  specific  cases,  they are  no
substitute  for the  comprehensive policy  that  is  required, nor  can they
compensate for the institutional deficiencies of  the police in the campaign
against impunity.

101.   The institutional  deficiencies with  the greatest  impact on  police
performance  are:  (a) insufficient personnel; (b) inadequate staff training
and a shortage  of the equipment needed for  their work; (c) the  consequent
recourse to the military infrastructure in  order to discharge their duties;
(d) illegal external pressures  which limit police  investigations; and  (e)
the lack of effective coordination with  the Public Prosecutor's Office with
a  view  to  the effective  pursuit of  investigations,  including confusion
regarding the role  of the National Police  under the new criminal procedure
system.

102.   In  addition to  the reported  corruption, resources  are  scarce and
police  presence is  minimal, all  of  which, given  the high  incidence  of
crime, make it impossible  to guarantee the safety  of the population.   The

police/population  ratio  in  Guatemala  is  1:2,200, whereas  international
standards set  the target at approximately  1:500.  There  are roughly 2,000
agents  in Guatemala  City,  plus  additional  manpower from  other  special
forces,  whereas in the  departmental capitals  there are  not enough police
and  there  is  a shortage  of  transportation,  liaison  and  communication
facilities.

103.   The  ability  of  the National  Police  to track  down  criminals  is
severely limited.   By way  of illustration, the  Mission has  noted that no
more than  5 per cent of  homicide cases have been  solved, a blatantly  low
figure  compared  to  other  countries.    Although  the  number  of persons
reported to be in custody is fairly high, only  a small percentage are being
held  for serious offences,  which shows  that there is a  clear tendency to
arrest  people for  misdemeanours while  perpetrators of  serious crimes  or
violations of human rights go unpunished (para. 36).

(b)The  existence  of  illicit  associations  linked  with  crime  and  with
financial or other interests which  may enjoy the support, the complicity or
the tolerance of State agents

104.   Verification has  shown that during  the period  in question  illegal
groups of  various types continued  their operations and that  they not only
are among  those  enjoying  impunity,  but also  fall  within the  ambit  of
commitment IV of the Comprehensive Agreement.   The characteristics of their
modus  operandi were observed in cases involving violations  of the right to
life, some of which are referred to in this report (paras. 36-37).   Some of
these  groups, which  were formed for  the purpose of  committing murder and
other crimes, have operated with impunity  for many years, facilitating  and
covering  up  crimes  and  participating  in  so-called  "social  cleansing"
operations,  in which  criminal acts  replace legal  action  on the  part of
security forces.

105.   In many of  these cases, the  participation or  collusion of  army or
police  officers is obvious,  and their  actions are  not always politically
motivated. The fact  that persons who are subjected  to threats do not  dare
to  lodge complaints with or testify before State  institutions and the fact
that judges  and prosecutors are afraid  to investigate  criminal groups are
indicative  of  a climate  of fear  which  guarantees the  impunity of  such
groups,  making it  very difficult  to bring  them before the  courts, prove
their culpability and sentence them.

106.  The activities of illegal  security forces and clandestine  structures
also have affected the functioning of  the administration of justice system,
given the  threats and climate of  intimidation surrounding  not only judges
and prosecutors, but also the lawyers of victims  of human rights abuses and
their families, and defence lawyers.

107.  Particularly troubling are the threats against and murder of  citizens
who  help to  elucidate crimes  and  violations  by testifying  or providing
information to the  police, prosecutors or  judges.  One such  case involves
the murder of Sidney Geovany  Lopez, an official in  the Public Prosecutor's
Office, in which one  of the three witnesses  who testified was murdered and
the other  two received  death threats.   Public  statements by  prosecutors
indicate that 90 per cent of judicial proceedings involving acts which  have
an impact  on society  are obstructed  because eyewitnesses  refuse to  come
forward and provide information.

Case 1

108.  The Mission  received a number of  complaints about murders  and death
threats attributed  to  a  band of  criminals operating  in  the San  Miguel
Chicaj region  of Baja Verapaz.   The complaints all  state that this  band,
which had been operating  with impunity for years,  is headed by  a military
commissioner   and  that  its   members  include  army  officers.    Fearing
reprisals, a number of families which  have received threats have  abandoned
their municipality  and refuse  to file  formal complaints  with the  Public

Prosecutor's Office or the National Police.

Case 2

109.  On  14 October 1994 Hector Rolando Tot was kidnapped at  the Coban bus
terminal  in  Alta  Verapaz  by  individuals  driving  a  Toyota  Hilux with
polarized windows; his whereabouts  are still unknown.   Verification showed
that he had  been the  victim of  a "social  cleansing" operation  involving
State agents, according to information provided to MINUGUA.   The victim was
known to be a member  of a band of thieves operating along the  Coban-Chisec
road.   Neither  the National  Police  nor  the Public  Prosecutor's  Office
initiated  a serious  investigation, and  one  of these  institutions stated
that it feared reprisals if it did take such action.

 (c)The  autonomy enjoyed by  the army  in its  counter-insurgency and anti-
subversive  activities, the procedures it  uses in this sphere and the broad
interpretation it gives to those concepts

110.  Verification has made  it clear that  the origin of this component  of
impunity does  not lie only  in aspects  directly or  indirectly related  to
counterinsurgency  and  anti-subversive  activities;  its  source  is   much
broader and  extends to  the protection  the army  gives to  certain of  its
members  implicated in cases  of corruption  or common crime.   For example,
despite the  seriousness of  the accusations against a  high-ranking officer
(paras.  39 et  seq. of the  second report),  not only  did the  army take a
passive  attitude  towards the  internal  investigations  conducted  and  in
support of  justice, but it  arranged for the  officer to  be transferred to
command another military zone, perhaps of even greater prestige.

111.  The  complaints submitted  to the  Mission by  some investigators  and
judges,  in  conjunction  with much  other  information  received  about the
existence of  intimidation and threats (paras.  37 and 93),  as well as  the
army's  failure  to comply  with  legal  requirements  (para.  58) are  also
elements pertaining to impunity.

112.   Although during  the period  under review  the army  has limited  its
military actions strictly to the context of the armed conflict, an  attitude
which  attenuates the  effect of this  component of impunity,  in some areas
they   continue  to   allege   that  the   human   rights   non-governmental
organizations, the  Counsel for Human Rights  and MINUGUA  are attempting to
dissolve the  CVDCs, and allude to  the fact that  the Mission's mandate  is
temporary,  while the army  is permanent,  which promotes  the impunity with
which the civilian patrols act.

113.  The Mission believes  that participation of members of the army in the
judging  of crimes that  are not  specifically military  hinders due process
inasmuch as  it is the  State's duty to investigate and  punish.  During the
period under  review, the cases  in which members  of the  armed forces were
found  to  be involved  in  judicial  proceedings  show  that the  Mission's
recommendations with respect to the necessary  reforms of the current system
of  military justice,  in particular  article  546 of  the Code  of Criminal
Procedure, are especially urgent. Establishing a  special court to deal with
crimes  that   are  not  specifically   military  constitutes  a   privilege
incompatible with  the rule  of law, since  all citizens  accused of  common
crimes should be tried before the same courts. 

(d)Control  exerted over  rural communities  by military  commissioners  and
Voluntary Civil Defence Committees (CVDCs)

114.   In  the second  report, the Mission  recommended that  the Government
should not allow military commissioners and  members of the Voluntary  Civil
Defence  Committees to continue  to exercise  functions which  are essential
and  indelegable duties  of the  State, and  that  the army  should prevent,
investigate  and  correct human  rights abuses  and violations  committed by
them.    In this  context,  it  is  noteworthy that  the  President  of  the
Republic, on Army Day, announced that he would  order the dissolution of the

military commissioners,  a process that would  be completed  on 15 September
1995.   The Mission considers this  a positive step, but its  effects on the
situation  of human rights in Guatemala will also  depend on what safeguards
are adopted regarding the future conduct  of the many military commissioners
who  have repeatedly  violated those rights.   The Mission  will continue to
verify  attentively the State's  fulfilment of  its duty  to guarantee human
rights, in relation to the future behaviour of this sector.

115.  Although  the precise scope  of the presidential  announcement is  not
yet   known,   the  announcement   is  interpreted   as  meaning   that  the
commissioners will  be  demobilized.   The  definitive elimination  of  this
section of the act establishing the army will  require the Congress to adopt
an amendment,  and a Government initiative  to that effect  is already under
way.  In any  case, the Mission believes an information campaign is  needed,
supported by the army and directed at the  communities, to explain what  the
new  situation will be once the dissolution of the military commissioners is
complete.

116.  With regard  to the investigation  and rectification of abuses on  the
part of the  CVDCs, no significant progress has  been made.  New  complaints
have  been  received  against  them,  including  reports  of  harassment  of
returnee villages  and intimidation of settlers to influence their vote.  Of
particular concern is  the impunity which continues to  be found as seen  in
the several cases reported below.

Case 1

117.  The  arrest warrants against  Ruben Cruz Lopez,  head of  the CVDC  at
Txel,  Quiche, five  patrol members  and a  former deputy  mayor, which were
issued  on 8  August  1994 and  reissued  on 4  May  1995, have  yet  to  be
executed.  The men  are accused of  murdering three people and burying  them
illegally, and there is  convincing evidence of their guilt.  Neighbours  in
Txel affirm that  Cruz and his  accomplices are  at large  in the  community
without  fear of  detention,  and  that he  continues to  head the  CVDC and
attends regular meetings at the military  base. He also is  accusing members
of human  rights organizations of being  guerrillas and threatening  members
of the murder victims'  families and anyone else who might dare to report or
testify against them.

118.   While  one  reason  the  abuses, human  rights  violations or  crimes
allegedly committed by military commissioners and members of CVDCs,  whether
for political or general reasons, continue is that  the people are afraid to
say anything, the main  reason they continue  is that, in much of  Guatemala
the institutions responsible for maintaining public order and  administering
justice either do not exist or are very weak.

(e)The  proliferation  of  and lack  of  control  over  the  possession  of 
firearms by private individuals

119.  This element  is examined in the section dealing with Commitment IV of
the Comprehensive Agreement (paras. 124-125).

Characterization  of enforced  disappearance and extrajudicial  execution as
crimes

120.    The   amended  Criminal  Code,  which  characterizes   extrajudicial
execution  and  enforced disappearance  as  especially  serious  crimes  and
establishes  penalties for such crimes, entered into force  on 14 July 1995.
The Mission believes that the publication of that decree contributes to  the
fulfilment of the Government's commitment.

121.    Nevertheless,  and  without  prejudice   to  its  respect  for   the
prerogatives  of  the   Legislative  branch,  the  Mission  considers   that
extending  the death  penalty as  the decree  does, to  cover  categories of
crimes not previously included in the Penal Code, is contrary to the  spirit
and the letter of the American Convention on Human Rights.

122.  Moreover, the  Mission still has  no evidence that the Government  has
taken  measures  to  characterize  enforced  disappearance  and  summary  or
extralegal execution as crimes against humanity.

Commitment IV.  Commitment that there are no illegal security forces and
       clandestine machinery:  regulation of the bearing of arms

123.   The  commitment regarding  illegal  security  forces and  clandestine
machinery,  as well  as  the  purification and  professionalization  of  the
security forces, is  analysed in the section  relating to Commitment III  of
the Comprehensive Agreement (paras. 104 ff.).

Possession, bearing and use of firearms

124.   Whereas the  previous report  recognized that  some positive,  though
inadequate, measures had been  taken in this  area (para. 109 of the  second
report), no new  measures have  been taken during  the period under  review.
The number  of individuals bearing firearms  has risen sharply,  facilitated
by the  fact that commercial establishments  sell firearms  cheaply and take
care of the licensing formalities, issuing  licences along with the weapons,
since there  are no requirements  that cannot easily  be met.   Furthermore,
since there are no restrictions, large  quantities of weapons and ammunition
enter the country  any type of weapon or  ammunition can be obtained on  the
black market.   Ninety  per cent  of all  weapons seized  by the police  are
illegal, and eight out of ten violent crimes are committed with firearms.

125.  People should require special authorization in  order to bear a weapon
and the State  should grant such  authorization only after verifying  that a
real  need exists.   The  only effective  way to  control and  regulate  the
problems mentioned is to draw up  strict legislation prohibiting anyone from
bearing  a  weapon  without  authorization,  and  prohibiting  anyone   from
brandishing a  firearm, whether  or not they  have such  authorization.   An
effective  system of  control should  also  be  implemented to  regulate the
circulation  of weapons in  the streets.   Until such time  as the purchase,
possession,  bearing  and  use  of  firearms  is  strictly  controlled,  the
incidence of violence in the country is unlikely to decrease.

Commitment V.  Guarantees regarding freedom of association and freedom of
               movement

126.  During  the period covered by this  report, the Mission has  continued
to note some  progress inasmuch as people are  now free to choose whether or
not  to belong to  the CVDCs.  In  this regard, it should  be noted that the
CVDC of Setul, town  of Sayaxche, Peten, was dissolved at the initiative  of
the military commissioner, who  opted not to use  the procedure provided for
in the  Comprehensive Agreement;  in the  presence of  the commander  of the
military base  at El Tucan, the  committee drew up  a document stating  that
the committee was being dissolved and all the  members of the patrol  signed
it.   The base  took back the weaponry  and the log book,  and thus the CVDC
was dissolved.

127.   Even  so,  in  many communities  there are  still patrol  members who
persist in calling  anyone who does  not wish  to go on  patrol or who is  a
member of  a human  rights non-governmental  organization a  guerrilla.   In
some cases,  the army's  efforts to  point out  that membership in  CVDCs is
voluntary  and  to  explain  to  the  community  the role  of  human  rights
monitoring organizations, especially  the Office  of the  Counsel for  Human
Rights and including MINUGUA, has had  positive results in that intimidation
and harassment have ceased.

128.   The  Mission, in  verifying violations  of priority rights,  has come
across numerous  cases  and situations  in  which  responsibility lies  with
members  of  CVDCs,  the  common  characteristic  being  a  high  degree  of
impunity,  as has  been discussed  more fully  in the  section  referring to
Commitment III.

Commitment VI.  Military conscription

129.  Based  on the complaints received, the Mission has not noted any cases
of forced  military conscription.   Voluntary service  is the  only type  in
effect until a new  military service act enters into force.  However,  since
this  report was  completed, the  Mission has  learned that the  Counsel for
Human  Rights  had received  complaints  of  lack  of  compliance with  this
commitment.  The Mission will therefore  continue to monitor this  carefully
in future.

130.    It  has  been  found  that not  all  communities  are  aware of  the
situation; this has  caused concerns  and misunderstanding  in some  limited
cases, but these can be remedied with better information.

Commitment VII.  Safeguards and protection of individuals and entities      
working
                 for the protection of human rights

131.  During  the period under review,  situations arose which  affected the
safeguards of  those persons  working for  the promotion  and protection  of
human rights.   The most serious  was the  murder of  Manuel Saquic,  Pastor
(para. 33),  followed by threats  to other  persons in  that field.   In the
same vein,  a United  States citizen  connected to  the Commission on  Human
Rights of  Guatemala was subjected to  ill-treatment (para. 41).   Some non-
governmental  organizations working in  the field  of human  rights were the
target  of  actions   inconsistent  with  this  commitment.     Furthermore,
verification shows  that some people, particularly  members of  the army and
CVDCs, continue  to equate the activities  of such  organizations with those
of guerrillas and subversives, and to try to intimidate persons who seek  to
promote human rights activities.

 Case 1

132.   Since 21 July, the Mission  began to verify that the headquarters and
members of the  Centre for Legal Action in  Human Rights, a well-known  non-
governmental organization dedicated to the protection of human rights,  were
under  constant surveillance.   As  a  result of  the verification,  it  was
learned  that one of  the vehicles used in  this surveillance was registered
as the property of the Presidential Staff.

Case 2

133.  In  the village of  Sajquim, San  Marcos, as  part of its  educational
outreach the Catholic Church offers adult  literacy classes, using materials
that  focus  on  human  rights.    At  a  meeting  called  by  the  military
commissioners on 9 March  the students were  told that they must not  attend
the classes because the content helped the guerrillas.   After hearing this,
a large percentage of the students stopped attending.

Commitment VIII.  Compensation  and/or assistance to the victims of human   
      rights
                  violations

134.  As  of the end of this reporting period, the Mission  has not received
any  information  on  the  entities  responsible  for  devising   government
measures and  programmes of a civilian  and socio-economic  nature to assist
the  victims  of  human  rights  violations.    This  information  had  been
requested during the first reporting period,  in order to evaluate  progress
in the fulfilment of this commitment.

135.    In  view  of  the  fact that  the  Comprehensive  Agreement  did not
establish a specific  deadline for fulfilling  this commitment,  and bearing
in mind  the various types  of difficulties which  must be  overcome for the
Agreement to  be fully and effectively  implemented the  previous report had
recommended,  as a  first step, that  a plan of  action should be  drawn up.
The  Mission is concerned to see  that there is  no indication thus far that

the relevant governmental bodies have heeded the recommendation.

Commitment IX.  Human rights and internal armed       confrontation

136.    During the  period  covered by  this  report, the  Mission  verified
complaints of  alleged  violations by  both  parties  of the  commitment  to
respect  the human  rights of  those  wounded, captured  and those  who have
remained out  of combat,  as well as  to end the  suffering of the  civilian
population.

Suffering of the civilian population

137.  URNG actions  which constitute violations of the commitment to end the
suffering of the civilian population inasmuch  as they have placed civilians
at risk as a result of attacks against military bases, have  continued to be
verified.  Although URNG  claims that the risk to the civilian population in
this  type of  action is  due to  the particular  location of  the  military
bases, which  are  built in  population  centres  or near  inhabited  areas,
verification  has  shown that  in many  cases,  the  risk has  resulted from
improper planning or execution of actions by the guerrillas.  Some of  these
cases are summarized below.

Case 1

138.  On  21 July at 3 a.m.,  the military barracks  at Alotenango, San Juan
Alotenango, Sacatepequez,  was attacked by URNG  from the  front, with rifle
fire  and by  an RPG7  grenade launcher.    This  incident left  one soldier
wounded by shrapnel and  damaged the homes of  civilians, with clear risk to
persons.

Case 2

139.  On 4 July, members of URNG launched grenades into the  barracks of the
Honour  Guard Brigade  in  the  capital, one  of which  landed in  a private
garage, causing  damage to civilian property.   The  action was particularly
serious because of  the inherent risks, although fortunately, no  casualties
were reported.

140.  Cases  of explosions  of mines or  explosive devices causing  civilian
deaths were also verified.  Verification  is difficult, particularly when it
involves attempting  to  determine the  specific  origin,  or the  time  the
device was  planted. The following  case stands  out because  of its  tragic
consequences:

Case 3

141.  On 19  July at 1.45 p.m.,  an explosion occurred on  the road  between
the canton  Chujuexa II-A, Cupol,  Municipality of  Chichicastenango, at the
community  school.   The  blast killed  Nicolas Mendez  Bat Cibal  (11 years
old), and  his  brothers  Victor Mendez  Morales (10  years  old) and  Diego
Mendez Morales (8 years old) and left a hole 1.1 metres  deep and 23 cm wide
at the top.

142.  The  adoption of Decree  Law No.  60/95, concerning  the reduction  of
risk to  the inhabitants  of areas affected  by the armed  confrontation, by
means of the removal  and deactivation of mines  and other explosive devices
is  a  positive  step the  Congress  has  taken  in  the  difficult task  of
eliminating these devices, which, in many cases,  cause civilian casualties.
In order for the proposed plan to be effective, it  should be accompanied by
precise details  about mined areas,  mines, ammunition or explosive devices,
which  the army or  URNG could  provide to the agencies  responsible for its
implementation.

143.   Once the  election campaign  was under way, URNG  proceeded to occupy
certain  localities,  and  generally  to  engage  in  political   propaganda
activities.   These activities,  which do  not, in  themselves, constitute a

violation of the Comprehensive  Agreement, in one or two cases, such as that
illustrated below, resulted in injury to  civilians or private property, and
that is  a violation of  the Agreement.   The possibility  of retaliation by
the army presents another risk.

Case 4

144.   On  4  July,  about 100  URNG  members occupied  various  hamlets  of
Quetzaltenango.  At 1 p.m., the driver  of a truck transporting goods of the
Transval  company, apparently believing  that he  was about  to be attacked,
did  not  stop  at a  guerrilla  checkpoint in  the  vicinity of  Concepcion
Chiquirichapal.  The  officers  at  the   checkpoint  fired  at  the  truck,
seriously  wounding  a  security guard  and  slightly  wounding  the company
accountant.   The driver stopped at a second  checkpoint, where URNG members
asked other civilians to take the wounded to Quetzaltenango.

Actions related to the "war tax"

145.   In its second  report, the  Mission stated that it  had reiterated to
URNG, in connection  with the so-called  "war tax", that  the threats  which
have accompanied  demands for  such tax  in the  cases reported  to it,  and
injury to  persons, are violations of  human rights  accorded priority under
the  Comprehensive Agreement and  that, by  the same  token, actions against
civilian  property or  reprisals are  violations  of  Commitment IX  of that
Agreement.   MINUGUA made its  position known in  a public  statement issued
after the second report was completed but before its publication.

146.  Verification  has brought to  light ongoing complaints of  threats and
actions against  civilian property, carried out  by URNG  during attempts to
collect the  tax.   As indicated  in the  second report,  this situation  is
further  complicated by the fact  that third parties take  advantage of this
practice of  URNG to  extort money from  private individuals  for their  own
benefit.

Case 5

147.   On 31 May at 12 p.m., five URNG members appeared at the Nicte estate,
Sayaxche, Peten, to collect  the war  tax.  When they  could not come to  an
agreement with  the foreman,  they burned  the estate's  tractors and  radio
communications equipment.

Wounded and captured combatants

Case 6

148.   On 22 June,  in the vicinity  of the  place known as  Boqueron Viejo,
Nebaj,  an ambulance  belonging  to the  volunteer fire  department carrying
three soldiers  in civilian clothes,  which was on  its way  to evacuate two
soldiers wounded in a  prior encounter, was detained  by URNG members for an
hour, after which it was forced to go back, thus impeding the evacuation.

149.   Former guerrilla  Emilio Paau,  who, after  surrendering voluntarily,
had been burned with cigarettes in  the military base at Peten (para. 138 of
the  second report),  was coerced  by  soldiers in  the military  zone  into
signing a paper denying  that he had  been mistreated and declining to  take
any legal action against the army.

150.  Currently, the  Mission is investigating a  number of reports  related
to  this commitment,  including a  URNG  report on  the death  of  guerrilla
Emiliana Patrocinia Mazariegos, which, according to  the army, occurred as a
result of  the confrontation of 13 August  1995 at the  El Bramadero farm in
Peten.  By order  of the  justice of  the  peace, the  body was  buried  the
following day before an autopsy could be performed,  on the pretext that  it
was  in an  "advanced" state  of decomposition.   However,  the  URNG report
states that the combatant was captured alive.

Displaced persons, refugees and returnees

151.  In  the performance of  its functions,  the Mission  has continued  to
take into  account the situation  of the most  vulnerable groups in  society
and  of  the population  directly affected  by the  armed conflict,  such as
displaced persons,  refugees and  returnees, and has continued  to cooperate
with  the Office  of the  United Nations  High Commissioner  for Refugees in
resettling returnees in various departments.   In addition to  investigating
cases of  illegal interference with this  process, the  Mission has observed
that some groups  of returnees wish to  participate in elections, either  by
organizing citizens' committees  or by  supporting specific candidates.   In
view of this development, special care will have to  be taken to ensure that
such civic participation takes place freely and without interference.

Case 1

152.  The  illegal interference with the return  of refugees to San  Antonio
Tzeja,  Ixcan, Quiche  (para. 143  of the  second report),  culminated on 28
June  1995 when  the group  of returnees,  who had  stayed in  the Church of
Cantabal for  over two months,  decided to go to San Antonio  Tzeja.  Half a
kilometre from  that point, they  were violently intercepted  by a group  of
military commissioners,  CVDC members and other  persons, led  by a civilian
for whom  an arrest warrant had  been issued on 25  May 1995 and who  stands
accused of  various offences.   These  people not  only interfered  with the
returnees' freedom  of movement, but also  displayed weapons  and made death
threats against the returnees  and against inhabitants of the town who  were
willing  to   accommodate  them,  and   even  detained  five   international
officials,  in front of 70 police  officers who were unable to  stop them or
to capture the chief perpetrator (para. 24).

153.  On 30  June, a government  commission visited the site and  succeeded,
weeks later,  in persuading the returnees  to move to  a location two  hours
away  from San  Antonio Tzeja.    Despite  these positive  developments, the
investigation revealed that those responsible are  still at large, cases  of
intimidation continue and the State is not  living up to its duty to protect
the rights of the returnees.


        IV.  INSTITUTION-BUILDING, INTERNATIONAL TECHNICAL AND FINANCIAL
             COOPERATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTION AND EDUCATION

A.  Institution-building

154.   The parties  to the  Comprehensive Agreement recognized  the need  to
enlist the  Mission's help  in strengthening national  entities working  for
the protection of human rights.   Although this process hinges  primarily on
decisive   action  by   the  authorities,   with  the   cooperation  of  the
international  community,  the  Mission's  verification activities  help  to
determine priorities for institutionbuilding.

 155.  Institution-building is essential  in a context where  laws are being
disobeyed for a number  of reasons.  To  correct this situation, the process
must take  into account the diversity of institutions and  problems and must
be based on reaching a consensus with the  local counterparts to ensure that
projects are implemented.

156.  Cooperation  in strengthening the  judiciary is  based on the  premise
that  each  of  the   individual  judges,  who  have   a  monopoly  on   the
administration of  justice, must  constitute the  last and  best defence  of
respect for  human  rights, and  must  enjoy  an autonomy  and  independence
limited only by  law.   The verification process  has revealed that  factors
both  within  and  outside  the  judiciary  affect  the  observance  of this
principle, as well as access to the courts  and the pleading of  defendants'
cases in legal proceedings.  The judiciary must improve  the organization of
judicial offices, the  legal information system and procedures for assigning
cases and process-serving.

157.  On 4  August 1995, a framework  agreement on technical cooperation was
concluded between MINUGUA and the judiciary.   It provides for assistance to
the  Public Defender's  Office, the  consideration  and implementation  of a
plan  for  improving  the  juridical  information  system  and  measures  to
strengthen the Judicial Training School.

158.   The verification process showed  that the  Public Prosecutor's Office
has neither the capacity nor the  institutional will to investigate  crimes,
particularly  in unusually  important cases.    It  also revealed  that most
prosecutors  are  unfamiliar  with  basic  concepts  for  planning  criminal
investigation strategies  and organizing  work, and  that they  do not  work
closely enough with the National Police.

159.   The technical cooperation agreement  between the Public  Prosecutor's
Office and the MINUGUA/UNDP  Joint Unit provided for the establishment of  a
Technical Advisory  Unit  within that  Office,  whose  purpose is  to  train
prosecutors.    The  Unit  provides  guidance  and  training  in  organizing
investigations,  planning strategies  for public  and oral  proceedings  and
managing cases.  In addition, a handbook  for prosecutors and various  forms
to facilitate  their work are being  prepared.  Seven  of the eight  courses
scheduled  have already  been given,  and the  training programme  is to  be
expanded to  cover assistant prosecutors.   The agreement is  to be extended
and broadened to include  assistance to the Board of the Public Prosecutor's
Office and  to the Attorney General  in drawing up  regulations, inter alia,
for the staff of the Public Prosecutor's Office.

160.   It has been noted  that the Public  Defender's Office, which still is
not operational in  all parts of Guatemala,  suffers from a serious shortage
of funds  and human resources.   Under the  institution-building project for
this Office,  agreed upon  with the  Supreme Court  of Justice  on 4  August
1995, defence  lawyers will be trained  in the use of  the Code of  Criminal
Procedure  and a  plan will  be  devised for  expanding the  public  defence
system.

161.    Support  for  the  Office  of  the  Counsel  for  Human  Rights   in
investigating human  rights violations will focus  on meeting that  Office's
need  for an  autonomous mechanism  for investigating reports  and verifying
that  CVDC  members  are  not  coerced  into  joining  those  groups.    The
MINUGUA/UNDP Joint Unit will soon conclude  a framework agreement with  that
Office on strengthening the Department of Investigations  and the Department
of Indigenous Affairs.

162.  The verification  process revealed the  extreme institutional weakness
of the  National Police  and the  need for  radical reform.   The  Mission's
cooperation in strengthening  this institution will focus on supporting  the
reform efforts made by the Government  in compliance with its  commitment to
continue  to purify and  professionalize the  security forces.   The project
agreed  upon with  the Ministry  of the  Interior  and  the Director  of the
National   Police,  which  is  being  implemented  with   support  from  the
Venezuelan Government  and  UNDP, will  serve  to  strengthen the  areas  of
investigation and coordination with the Public Prosecutor's Office.

163.  The Mission's investigations also  indicated that problems with access
to  the  courts  and to  defence  counsel,  as well  as  the  lack  of court
interpreters, are  most likely to affect the indigenous population.  As part
of its  cooperation  in  institution-building, MINUGUA  will soon  launch  a
number of local-impact programmes to lay  the foundations for solving  these
problems at the national level.


B.  Technical and financial cooperation

164.  Support  from the international community  took the form  of financial
cooperation,  which contributed  a total  of US$  1.7 million  to  the Trust
Fund, thanks  to generous donations  of US$ 200,000  from the Government  of
Denmark, US$  500,000 from the  United States of  America and  US$ 1 million

from Norway.

165.   The  cooperation  agreement with  Norway,  signed  on  26 June  1995,
confirmed the  offer to donate  US$ 1 million  through the Norwegian  Agency
for Development  Cooperation.  This contribution  is being  used to continue
institution-building efforts in  the Public Prosecutor's Office (para.  159)
and to begin such  efforts in the Public Defender's Office.  These resources
also  made it possible  to establish a  fund for  national and international
consultants and to  organize a number  of events  on topical  issues and  on
human rights  promotion and  education. Half of  the resources  are used  to
support the  dissemination of information on  the Agreement  on Identity and
Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

166.  The donation  from the United States  Government, which was  confirmed
on  4   August  1995,  is  being  used  to  complement  institution-building
activities in the Public Defender's Office  by training public defenders and
officials of the Office and drawing up an  agenda for its expansion.   These
resources  are also  used to  provide  technical  assistance to  the Supreme
Court  of  Justice for  its  technological  modernization programme  and  to
support the Judicial Training School (paras. 157 and 160).

167.  An additional  contribution of US$  500,000 from the United States  of
America is being  negotiated for institution-building activities related  to
the Agreement  on Identity  and Rights  of  Indigenous Peoples.   Offers  of
support  from the Netherlands (US$ 260,000) and Sweden  (US$ 1 million) will
be confirmed shortly.

 168.  In  cooperation with UNDP, support for the Office of  the Counsel for
Human Rights in the area  of indigenous peoples' rights  was negotiated with
Denmark's Human  Rights Programme for Central  America (PRODECA).   UNDP has
launched a technical assistance project into which  the PRODECA contribution
will  be incorporated  under a  cost-sharing  scheme, with  joint  technical
assistance and supervision.  In addition,  the MINUGUA/UNDP Joint Unit, with
the support of the  Government of Venezuela, has provided two police experts
on criminal investigation  and coordination between the Public  Prosecutor's
Office and the National Police (para. 162).

169.   A letter of intent  was signed with  the Inter-American Institute  of
Human  Rights to  emphasize common  areas  of work  in institution-building,
human rights promotion and education, the  rights of indigenous peoples  and
the comparative study of human rights and humanitarian law.


C.  Human rights education

170.  During the  period under review, 66 human rights training seminars and
nearly 250  informal talks on  the various agreements  and the  Mission were
organized.   These  activities, which  attracted over  18,000  participants,
were made possible by the European Union's  Institution-Building Project for
the  National Commission  for  Refugees, Returnees  and  Displaced  Persons.
Arrangements for this project, which  will be implemented for four months at
a  cost  of US$  45,000,  were  finalized on  3  May  1995 through  a  joint
cooperation agreement.

171.    The  education  and training  activities  are  aimed at  both  State
authorities  (prosecutors,  judges,   police  officers)  and  human   rights
advocates  from  non-governmental   organizations.    The   promotional  and
informational talks  on human  rights are  targeted at  the general  public,
including representatives of various organizational structures.

172.  Training  activities have come  up against serious obstacles,  such as
illiteracy, especially among women; ignorance of  the basic concepts of  the
rule  of law, democracy,  justice and even  human rights  and the bargaining
process;  linguistic  and  cultural  differences,  which  make  it  hard  to
communicate  with  the   population;  the  lack  of  translation   services;
political  polarization;   and  the   unrealistic  expectations   that  have

accompanied people's acceptance of MINUGUA. At  a subsequent stage, it  will
be necessary to prepare projects to  strengthen entities that provide  human
rights education and training.


V.  AGREEMENT ON IDENTITY AND RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

173.  The  Agreement on Identity and  Rights of Indigenous  Peoples expanded
the Mission's  mandate and  functions by  requesting MINUGUA  to verify  the
situation with respect to the human  rights recognized under Guatemalan  law
and in international instruments on the  subject, which have immediate force
and  application.     It  also   requested  international  cooperation   for
disseminating the  Agreement and  complementing national  efforts to  fulfil
the  Government's  commitments.    In  that  connection,  the  Mission   has
intensified its  activities in the areas of public information, verification
and institution-building.
  174.  The wide dissemination of  the Agreement, particularly in indigenous
communities, is  a prerequisite  for its implementation.   Accordingly,  the
Mission  has   carried  out   and  supported   various  public   information
activities,  beginning  with   the  publication  of   5,000  copies  of  the
Agreement.

175.  Together with the United  Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization  (UNESCO)  and  the Academy  of  Mayan  Languages, MINUGUA  has
supported national  efforts  to  translate  the Agreement  into  nine  Mayan
languages;  the Ministry of  Education and  the Universidad  Rafael Landivar
are also  involved  in this  project.    As a  first  step, the  Mission  is
financing  workshops   in  which  translators   from  different   linguistic
communities seek to harmonize the terms used in the various languages.   The
Peace Commission (COPAZ) has participated actively in this effort.

176.  The Mission's regional offices  have organized workshops and  seminars
to promote the  dissemination of the  Agreement, to  be followed  by a  more
intensive information campaign in the coming months.

177.   In consultation  with the  parties and  indigenous organizations, the
Mission  prepared a  handbook of instructions for  verifying compliance with
the Agreement, which  establishes the  general framework and procedures  for
verification.  This handbook reflects the  unique nature of the  commitments
made  in  the  Agreement,  which  focus  on  the  constitutional,  legal and
administrative  reforms   considered  necessary   for  the  elimination   of
discrimination,  both de facto and  de jure, and for  the effective exercise
of  the specific  rights of  indigenous peoples.   In  this connection,  the
Agreement stipulates that "all matters of  direct interest to the indigenous
peoples  need to  be dealt  with  by and  with them",  and provides  for the
establishment   of  joint  commissions   composed  of  an  equal  number  of
representatives   of  the  Government  and   representatives  of  indigenous
organizations for the preparation of the most important reforms, as well  as
other forums for participation and consultation.

178.   Although  the  vast  majority  of the  commitments  in the  Agreement
concern human rights, only those rights  which are already recognized  under
Guatemalan law and which do not require the institution of reforms in  order
to be effectively enjoyed  can be considered to  be in force  and verifiable
by the  Mission.  Thus, pending the conclusion of an agreement on a firm and
lasting  peace,  the  verification  process will  focus  primarily  on equal
treatment  and  non-discrimination   with  respect  to  indigenous  peoples.
However,  the Mission believes that the Government  should speedily initiate
the  consultation  process  or  adopt  the  measures  needed  to  ensure the
effective exercise of these rights.

179.  The process of  investigating individual cases takes  into account the
rights  of indigenous peoples  as set  forth in  the Guatemalan Constitution
and in  international  human rights  instruments  to  which Guatemala  is  a
party, particularly the  International Convention on  the Elimination of All
Forms  of Racial  Discrimination,  and  therefore emphasizes  discrimination

with  respect  to  cultural,  civil  and  political  rights.    By observing
situations,  MINUGUA  will  verify  compliance  with  other aspects  of  the
Agreement, in cooperation  with the organizations, entities and  traditional
authorities of indigenous peoples.

 180.  In  promoting and protecting the  human rights of indigenous peoples,
special attention must be paid to  institution-building efforts in State and
indigenous organizations.  The Mission's priorities  in this area are  based
on  the Agreement  itself:   establishing and  strengthening mechanisms  and
organizations  that defend  the rights  of indigenous peoples  and guarantee
due   process,   and  strengthening   indigenous   institutions  and   their
traditional norms.

181.    The  Mission's  strategy  is  intended  to   fulfil  both  of  these
commitments. For the short  term, emphasis has been placed on programmes  to
strengthen  entities   that  protect  and   defend  indigenous  rights,   to
facilitate access  to  the  justice  system  and  to  fight  discrimination.
Through the MINUGUA/UNDP Joint Unit,  the Mission has designed  a project to
support and  strengthen the Department of  Indigenous Affairs  of the Office
of the Counsel for Human Rights.

182.    Other  projects in  Quetzaltenango  and the  Ixil  region of  Quiche
concern popular law offices  and bilingual interpretation.   The aim of  the
pilot project in  Quetzaltenango is to  design and  later implement a  model
for  the management  of translation  and  training  services for  judges and
prosecutors.


VI.  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

183.  The Mission  concludes that during the  period covered by this report,
although  certain positive  steps and  attitudes  already indicated  in  the
second report  have been maintained, the  general human  rights situation in
Guatemala is  still a  cause for concern and  has in some ways  taken a turn
for the worse.

184.  The serious  lack of public  security is in itself an  encroachment on
human rights because it denies the people the possibility of living free  of
fear and of attacks on their lives, integrity of person and liberty.

185.  Impunity, as well, undermines basic elements of the rule  of law, such
as the principle of legality, which postulates that  all are subject to  the
law,  or the  principle of  responsibility,  according  to which  there must
always be  someone in  authority who  takes responsibility  for all  illegal
action by government officials.

186.   The Mission believes that the  hopes aroused by the progress noted in
the  second report  were not  sustained by  further advances.   During  this
reporting  period, it verified a  deterioration in some aspects of the human
rights   situation,  owing  to a  crisis in  the  administration of  justice
system.   This  judgement is  based on  its confirmation  of brutal murders,
instances  of extreme abuse  of authority,  threats made against prosecutors
and  failures to  carry  out  arrest warrants,  not  to speak  of  the  more
difficult  conditions  under which  persons  and  organizations  working  to
safeguard  and  promote  human rights  are  operating.   The  crisis in  the
judicial system and the  violations of due  process have reached a  critical
point, and most of the alleged human rights  violations have taken place  in
a climate of intimidation, which directly  affects the ability of government
institutions to deal with the perpetrators.

187.  The Mission, on the basis  of its own verification, concludes that the
right  to life  is still  the most  seriously affected,  and that  it is  so
precarious  because  the  State  has  shirked  its  obligation  to   provide
guarantees  and  its institutions  do  not  exercise  their  solemn duty  to
prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish crimes. 

188.  The Mission  further concludes that the  Government has not adequately
guaranteed the rights to integrity and  security of person and to individual
liberty.   It has ascertained serious instances of  torture and arbitrary or
illegal detention that  had not been investigated.   The recurrence of  acts
of  this  sort  and  their  countenancing  by  the  authorities  also favour
impunity. 

189.  The  verification process  has allowed  the Mission  to conclude  that
persons working to promote and safeguard human rights continue  to be abused
and intimidated, and that the assassination of Pastor Manuel Saquic and  the
subsequent threats  have made it much  harder for human rights activists and
organizations to do their  work.  This unfortunate development is an example
of the pernicious impact  of the kind of discourse that equates human rights
activism with subversion. 

190.   Verification by  the Mission  has shown  that the  power of  criminal
organizations  and   of  individuals  -  with   or  without   links  to  the
Government  - who  commit  crimes  to  settle police  or  private scores  is
greater than the power of the  institutions responsible for combating  them.
This equation will be  reversed only when criminal agents and groups are  no
longer encouraged in  their actions by the  growing climate of impunity  and
the sure  knowledge that these  institutions are weak, in  other words, when
the institutions act decisively  and take whatever  steps they can and  must
take. 

191.  Given  the repeated and confirmed  occurrence of criminal activity  by
illegal groups and clandestine machinery, to which government officials  are
frequently  linked, the Mission  is compelled  to recommend  once again that
the   Government  should   identify,  disband   and  punish   such   groups,
investigating their possible links with  State officials or institutions and
placing the  responsibility where  it belongs.   The  Mission also  believes
that investigation of these groups should focus specifically on some of  the
particularly sensitive areas  already indicated, like drug trafficking,  car
theft  and  the  smuggling  of  wood.    The  failure to  comply  with  this
recommendation benefits the  criminal groups and diminishes the  credibility
of State institutions and the public's confidence in them. 

192.   The Mission noted that  the right to  due process  was being violated
more frequently, particularly when it came  to the State's legal  obligation
to investigate and punish, as could  be seen in the almost  total failure by
the  competent   institutions  to  bring  court   action  and  the   virtual
miscarriage of justice in response to serious human rights violations.

193.   The State  bodies that  administer justice are  responsible for  this
situation, especially  the Public Prosecutor's Office,  which has proven  to
be  strikingly incapable  of initiating  criminal proceedings and  devoid of
any  policy  for  applying  legal  controls.     The  endemic  crippling  of
investigations is aggravated by the absence of a clear determination on  the
part  of institutions to investigate and prosecute  crimes involving persons
belonging to or related to the army, or officials of the security forces.
  194.  The Mission finds it troubling that the  members of the armed forces
implicated in  illicit activities  are in  a particularly  good position  to
take  advantage  of  impunity,  owing  to  the  particular  role  which, for
historical reasons, the  military has played  in Guatemala.   It  is also  a
matter of concern that due process  is disregarded primarily in high-profile
cases, in which members of the army or  persons linked to it are implicated,
given the  interference  of military  interests  in  the operations  of  the
judiciary.

195.  The Mission, believing that the participation  of members of the  army
in  trials for  crimes  which are  not specifically  military has  proven to
interfere with  the State's duty to  investigate and  punish, reiterates its
recommendations  relating to  a  reform  of the  current  administration  of
justice system as concerns military matters.

196.    The  activities of  illegal groups  or  isolated acts  by individual

government  officials are  not the  only  explanation  for the  human rights
situation,  nor are  structural shortcomings  the only  determining  factor.
Rather, the  situation is  fostered and  reinforced by  deliberate acts  and
omissions  on the part  of government  officials, for  which the authorities
must take responsibility.

197.   The persistence of impunity is the fault of  the Government, not only
because  its officials take  wrongful advantage  of it  but because, legally
and politically, its  highest authorities have the prime responsibility  for
ensuring respect for the human rights of all the inhabitants of Guatemala.

198.    Similarly, the  present  lack  of  coordination  between the  Public
Prosecutor's  Office, the  judiciary  and  the  National  Police  cannot  be
attributed  solely to  structural  shortcomings.   The  deliberate  acts  or
omissions  of   government  officials,   for  which   the  authorities   are
responsible, also come into it.

199.  For all these  reasons, impunity should be dealt with by the  separate
branches  of  government acting  together  under  strong leadership  by  the
Executive branch, which  is primarily  responsible for ensuring respect  for
human rights and the safety of the people.

200.   While it  appreciates the  efforts of  the highest  officials of  the
National  Police to overcome  the institutional  flaws that  prevent it from
playing  the role it should to combat impunity  and guarantee public safety,
the  Mission  feels  that these  efforts  do  not  suffice.    It  therefore
reiterates  that  if  the structural  and  professional  weaknesses  of  the
National Police are  to be corrected its institutional bases and the process
used to select and train its officers must be radically reformed.

201.  In  any case, the Mission welcomes  the fact that the positive  points
brought out  in its previous report  still hold true,  and it believes  that
the  President's announcement  of  the gradual  demobilization  of  military
commissioners until all have  been eliminated is a very encouraging step, in
view of the fact  that, if fully  implemented, this  step may help wipe  out
one component of impunity.  The Mission will  be closely watching the impact
on human rights.

202.  However, this comparative progress  is inadequate without the decisive
adoption  of a comprehensive policy  to combat impunity.   The inadequacy is
institutional,  a result  of  the  weakness of  government  institutions  in
enforcing respect for the law and  of the lack of any political will to make
headway in actually changing the situation.  To  repeat what was said in the
previous  report,  it  is not  enough  for the  Government  to refrain  from
encouraging violations and their  commission with impunity.  It has to adopt
and apply strong measures based on an overall policy to combat impunity.

203.  The Mission thinks that it  would be very difficult to make meaningful
progress without  giving serious attention  to the  recommendations made  in
its  two earlier  reports.   The Mission  cannot use  as its  criterion  for
assessing progress  simply the fact that  formalities, such  as reminders to
concerned  institutions, have  been  completed;  rather, it  must take  into
account substantive  actions and their real impact in fostering  change.  It
is therefore  deeply concerned  that there is  no record  of any  Government
follow-up  to its recommendations,  especially those  having to  do with the
crucial matter of impunity.   The one exception was the establishment of  an
inter-ministerial liaison  commission within COPREDEH,  but the Mission  has
no information on the impact it has had.

204.    Given the  disregard for  most of  the recommendations  contained in
previous reports,  the Mission  reiterates  all its  recommendations to  the
Government,  particularly  the  recommendation  to  design  a  comprehensive
policy to  combat  impunity; and  it  also  reiterates  its appeals  to  the
Supreme  Court  of  Justice  and  the   highest  authority  of  the   Public
Prosecutor's Office (paras. 201 ff. of the second report). 

205.  The Mission  is firmly convinced that  the Government, which benefited
from most of  the commitments of  the Comprehensive  Agreement, can, in  the
time  remaining in the  President's term  of office,  adopt crucial measures
along  the lines indicated;  and it  should be a matter  of serious interest
for  all the  political  parties to  continue along  that  path.   The  best
guarantee  of  that  continuity  is  the  country's  keen  awareness  of the
magnitude of the problem of impunity and the need to  fight it, an awareness
already apparent in the signing of the  Comprehensive Agreement and one that
has only  increased, as  can be  seen in  the public  statements of  various
ecclesiastical and civil authorities.

206.  Furthermore, the occurrences verified  during this period warrant  the
conclusion  that URNG is  still not  living up to its  commitments under the
Comprehensive  Agreement, particularly  the  commitment to  stop  inflicting
suffering  on  the civilian  population,  in  that it  is  causing  harm  or
unnecessarily  endangering persons  and civilian  property for  military  or
propaganda  purposes,  and the  commitment  to  respect  the  rights of  the
wounded,  in that it  is preventing  them from  receiving needed assistance.
It has also been verified that URNG  troops continue violating human  rights
by collecting a "war tax", and by threats and reprisals against persons  and
civilian property.  The failure of  URNG to heed and respond  to most of the
recommendations  made  in earlier  reports  is  of  serious  concern to  the
Mission, because  allowing the guilty to  go unpunished  creates a situation
analogous  to   impunity,  for   which  the  URNG  Command   is  politically
responsible.

207.   The Mission  believes that  the Guatemalans  themselves are primarily
responsible  for overcoming  the difficulties  standing  in  the way  of the
observance of human  rights.  To that end,  MINUGUA, the Group of Friends of
the Guatemalan peace process and the  international community stand ready to
cooperate,  provided that  the Government  and  URNG  give evidence  of firm
determination, without which outside cooperation loses its effectiveness. 

Final acknowledgement

208.   Lastly, the  Mission again  thanks the  members of  the international
community and the  ambassadors of the Group  of Friends for the  willingness
they  have  shown to  support peace,  through MINUGUA.   It  appreciates the
cooperation  received  from the  parties  in  discharging its  functions and
again expresses  its thanks to  the people  of Guatemala for  the confidence
they continue to show in the  Mission as it  fulfils the task set for it  by
the parties when they requested its establishment. 


Notes

  1/   A case  is closed when  sufficient information has  been obtained  to
establish  whether   or  not  a  violation   has  occurred   or  when,  upon
verification,  it  has been  established  that  the  complaint  is based  on
inaccurate allegations or falls  outside of the mandate of the Mission.   It
may  also be  closed  if, after  a  reasonable  period  of time,  it  proves
impossible  to confirm it  owing to lack of information.   In this event the
case may be reopened if new information is obtained.

COMPLAINTS ADMITTED, BY CATEGORY OF ALLEGED VIOLATIONS a/

Right to life

  Extrajudicial executions or deaths in violation
  of legal guarantees49

  Attempted extrajudicial executions18

  Death threats 89

  Total156

Right to integrity and security of person

  Torture6

  Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment3

  Ill-treatment13

  Excessive use of force3

  Other threats 62

  Total 87

Right to individual liberty

  Arbitrary or illegal detention24

  Detention in violation of legal guarantees6

  Kidnapping3

  Hostage-taking0

  Enforced disappearances3

  Forcible, unjust or discriminatory recruitment  7

  Total 43

Right to due process

  Procedural guarantees9

  Right of habeas corpus6

  Right of access to the justice system 45

  Total 60
  Political rights  7

  Total  7

Right to freedom of expression  3

  Total  3

Right to freedom of movement 12

  Total 12

Right to freedom of association 12

  Total 12

Other violations in the internal armed conflict

  Harm or suffering inflicted on civilians31

  Attacks on civilian property7

  Attacks on property essential to the survival
  of the civilian population0

  Acts of terrorism0

  Failure to protect health workers and religious
  workers0

  Participation of children under 15 in the
  internal armed conflict  2

  Total 40

  Grand total424

                       

  a/   The  number  of  complaints in  each category  may change  during the
verification process.

-----


 

This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 18 December 1999 16:30:10
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org