HomeNewsBriefExtrajudicial Killings on the Rise in Guatemala
BRIEF

Extrajudicial Killings on the Rise in Guatemala

CIACS / 4 JUL 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Extrajudicial killings in Guatemala increased by over 50 percent during President Otto Perez's first year in office, according to a new report, illustrating an alarming trend linked to private security firms and citizen security boards.

Reports of extrajudicial killings jumped from 279 in 2011, to 439 in 2012, according to the report by Guatemalan group the Center for Legal Action in Human Rights (CALDH), as Siglo21 reports. However, this still remains a substantial reduction on the numbers registered in 2009 and 2010, when 5,072 cases were investigated.

Between 2005 and 2012, prosecutors investigated a total of 6,805 cases, but only 22 of these -- 0.32 percent -- resulted in convictions. Of the rest, 391 were archived, and the rest remain open.

According to the report, there has been an increase in participation in extrajudicial killings by private security agents, and citizen security boards -- community police groups created with state backing in 1999.

InSight Crime Analysis

Extrajudicial killings and death squads have been a common feature of violence in Guatemala since the country's civil war, which ended in 1996.

In the past, killings were often linked to the shadowy organizations known as Clandestine Security Apparatuses (Cuerpos Ilegales y Aparatos Clandestinos de Seguridad - CIACS) -- current and former members of the security and intelligence forces that were heavily involved in organized crime and wielded significant political influence.

The CIACS are now severely diminished, but the Guatemalan security forces continue to be tied to extrajudicial killings, including one case last year in which the former head of the Guatemalan national police was accused of involvement in the murder of extortionists in 2009.

The fact that private security and citizen security boards are now also being connected with extrajudicial killings is not surprising. Private security firms have been accused of collaborating with CIACS, often at the service of organized crime, while rogue security boards have been linked to a raft of criminal activities, including kidnapping, extortion, drug trafficking, and vigilante justice.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 6 JUL 2004

Guatemala's 40-year civil war laid the groundwork for many criminal organizations, including several that spawned from state intelligence and military…

GUATEMALA / 8 NOV 2013

Newly declassified US security reports highlight how the Zetas recruited men from Guatemalan Special Forces unit the Kaibiles for use…

BARRIO 18 / 26 APR 2019

Through the use of violence, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and 18th Street Gang (Barrio 18)  have become the most feared…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…