HomeNewsBriefGuatemala High Court Blocks President's Bid for Immunity
BRIEF

Guatemala High Court Blocks President's Bid for Immunity

GUATEMALA / 1 JUL 2015 BY SAM TABORY EN

Guatemala's Constitutional Court rejected a petition that would have granted at least a temporary reprieve to President Otto Perez Molina from a congressional corruption probe. The decision raises questions about the uncertain future of political leadership in a country already facing serious security and governance challenges. 

The decision released on June 30 officially rejected what is known as an "amparo," or an injunction, submitted by Perez Molina to stop the congressional investigation, effectively annulling impeachment proceedings that had been brought against him.

Perez Molina and his administration have been dogged for months by high-profle corruption scandals, one involving the country's Social Security Administration and another involving Guatemala's customs agency.

Vice President Roxana Baldetti resigned in May after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that there was enough evidence potentially linking her to corruption allegations to warrant stripping her of immunity and subjecting her to congressional investigation. This latest decision from the court concerning Perez Molina's immunity exposes him to similar congressional scrutiny. 

SEE ALSO: Guatemala News and Profiles

Other countries in the region have also been grappling with similar corruption allegations involving top political leadership. Honduras' Supreme Court recently issued arrest orders for 16 people suspected in a Honduran Social Security Administration corruption scandal, including Lena Gutierrez, the country's Vice President of Congress.

InSight Crime Analysis  

The Guatemala Court's ruling is a particularly powerful blow to Perez Molina, highlighting the degree to which political winds have shifted against the president. This all comes on the heels of months of public demonstrations and protests that have been calling for the president's resignation, galvanizing under the hashtag #RenunciaYa

SEE ALSO: The War for Guatemala's Courts

But while this type of ruling against a sitting president suspected of corruption is a victory of sorts in the fight against impunity in the Northern Triangle, it raises serious questions about immediate political leadership in a country facing deep-seated security and organized crime concerns.

Because many of the president's allies have been arrested or have resigned, including his top security officer, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla, major issues in dire need of attention, such as police reform, grind to a halt and will unlikely proceed whilst Perez Molina fights off these political and legal challenges.   

Honduras is going through a similarly turbulent time. The political scandal has ensnared close associates of President Juan Orlando Hernandez and his political party. In the meantime, security strategies, reform processes (also, most notably, in the police), and necessary legislative updates to important security laws are all on hold. 

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 9 MAR 2021

The naming of judges to Guatemala's high courts has turned into an escalating fight between political elites seeking to stack…

EL SALVADOR / 11 MAY 2021

A new report suggests women are increasingly playing an active role in the extortion activities of Central American gangs --…

CIACS / 12 DEC 2022

Guatemala's former President Otto Pérez Molina and former Vice President Roxana Baldetti were sentenced to 16 years in prison on…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…