On April 27, the U.S. Congress’s Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, held a hearing about alleged Kremlin pressures on the United Nations Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a hybrid legal body that investigates and tries high-level corruption cases.
The backstory here involves the CICIG’s conviction of three Russian nationals — Igor Bitkov, his wife Irina and their daughter Anastasia — for identity fraud. The Bitkovs claim they face Russian government persecution.
Some members of Congress seem to agree that the CICIG has become a tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin. On May 4, Sen.… Seguir leyendo »
On Aug. 27, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales ordered the immediate expulsion of the head of the U.N. Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, Iván Velásquez. Within hours, the country’s Constitutional Court had blocked the move.
Morales’s sudden announcement sent shock waves throughout Guatemala and the international community. Representative Eliot L. Engel, ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, issued a statement calling for closer scrutiny of Guatemala’s commitments vis-à-vis U.S. assistance.
What’s the story here? And what does it mean for Guatemala’s fight against impunity?
The CICIG, a unique international body authorized to collaborate on national investigations, offers Guatemalans the hope that members of government and the elite who commit crimes will no longer be immune from punishment.… Seguir leyendo »