Guatemala’s UN-Backed Justice Commission Faces Budget Cuts

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The United Nations anti-impunity commission in Guatemala, CICIG, will cut its staff by 30 percent due to a decrease in funding, but officials said this will have no effect on its activities.

Guatemala’s elPeriodico reports that the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has seen a 25 percent reduction in its budget for the next year, from $20 to $15 million. As a consequence, the commission plans to reduce its staff by 30 percent, dismissing at least 60 of its 200 employees over the next four months.

Diego Alvarez, the CICIG’s press officer, said that the budget reduction was due to a drop in donations, and would not affect the organization’s investigations. He did note that in some cases the commission will likely rely more heavily on the Attorney General’s Office for assistance in the future, however.

As InSight Crime has reported, CICIG has been a strong advocate for judicial reform in Guatemala, leading prosecutions against suspected corrupt officials over the past several years.

Budget reductions are not the only potential challenge to the CICIG. The country recently elected a new president, Otto Perez Molina, who will take over in January. Perez Molina has said he will respect the CICIG’s mandate in the country, but he has not guaranteed that he will endorse it in 2013, when its mandate comes up for renewal.

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