UN reiterates call on Guatemala to back proposed body to probe armed
31 July 2007The United Nations today reiterated its call on Guatemala to “seize this opportunity” to set up a proposed independent body to investigate illegal armed groups in the Central American country on the eve of a vote in the national legislature tomorrow. A UN commissioner and experts would work with Guatemalan prosecutors to combat organized crime and impunity as part of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (to be known as CICIG, its Spanish acronym). The Commission will have an initial mandate of two years under the proposal.Speaking to reporters, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe reiterated a statement by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month urging Guatemala to take the opportunity “to use international assistance to strengthen its national judicial institutions in the fight against impunity in a way that is fully respectful of Guatemalan sovereignty.”Ms. Okabe added that the UN was committed to doing everything it could to make CICIG a success.The Commission will be able to conduct its own investigations and also help local institutions, particularly the Office of the Public Prosecutor. While it will be an independent, non-UN body, its commissioner will be appointed by the Secretary-General and report periodically to him. One of its tasks is to recommend public policies and any legal or institutional measures for eradicating the illegal armed groups and preventing their re-emergence. The costs are expected to be borne by voluntary contributions from the international community.