HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Judge Selection Process Rife With Corruption
BRIEF

Guatemala Judge Selection Process Rife With Corruption

GUATEMALA / 2 OCT 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Guatemala’s Congress has elected over 200 officials to the country’s appellate courts, in a selection process rife with corruption, which plays a role in protecting officials from legal action.

On September 30, the Patriot Party (PP) and Renewed Liberty Democratic Party (Lider) worked as allies to choose 210 judges, representatives, and alternates to fill the country’s 42 appellate courts, reported elPeriodico

The newspaper gave an idea of the interests at play in drawing up the list of candidates, stating that the list was made up of individuals who were on the committee that nominates Supreme Court candidates, lawyers defending alleged drug traffickers, and relatives of lawmakers.

Those selected to the appellate court include Romeo Monterrosa, former lawyer to recently-captured trafficker Jairo Orellana, and Artemio Tanchez, who was among 18 judges accused of ruling in favor of criminal groups in “Judges of Impunity,” a report by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), reported elPeriodico.

Thirteen of those chosen for the appellate court had themselves sat on the committee that selected the Supreme Court candidates last week.

InSight Crime Analysis

The highly politicized nature of the selection process is hardly surprising in a country that has long struggled with corruption. With millions of dollars in public funds and goverment contracts on the line, political parties vying to fill court seats have turned what should be a democratic process into a contest of political favors.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the War for Guatemala’s Courts

Beyond financial incentives, the court elections are an important instrument for entrenched powers to influence judicial decisions. Political parties look to fill the courts with judges who will protect their interests and those of their allies, protecting them from prosecution.

Justice officials who do not uphold the status quo have not fared well in Guatemala. Despite international recognition for her achievements, in February former Attorney General Clauida Paz y Paz was rushed out of office one year after bringing former dictator Efrain Rios Montt to trial on charges of genocide. In August, Paz y Paz was prohibited from leaving Guatemala and had her bank assets frozen, although she had already left the country. 

Compartir icon icon icon

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

EXTRADITION / 24 SEP 2014

A high-ranking member of a powerful criminal organization in Guatemala has become the latest drug trafficker from this Central American…

ELITES AND CRIME / 6 SEP 2018

Mixed messages from Washington have left the door open for Guatemala President Jimmy Morales to strengthen his fight against the…

ELITES AND CRIME / 21 JUL 2020

The creation of a new anti-corruption office in Guatemala has raised questions about whether the body will have any teeth,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…