HomeNewsBriefProsecution of Ex-Guatemala Attorney General Smells of Retribution
BRIEF

Prosecution of Ex-Guatemala Attorney General Smells of Retribution

GUATEMALA / 11 AUG 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

In a decision that most local media ignored, a judge prohibited former Guatemala Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz from leaving the country, and froze her bank accounts, in what appears to be a backlash against the former prosecutor for bringing judicial cases against the country's elites.

As reported by Nomada, a new Guatemala media outlet, the decision by Judge Jisela Reinoso came June 20, after a company called GlobalCorp International filed suit against Paz y Paz and the Attorney General's Office for not paying the company for a contract signed in the year 2000 for equipment, licenses and training. The eleven charges brought against Paz y Paz include abuse of authority, disobedience, and conspiracy, reported Nomada. 

The case has been appealed by the Public Ministry, as the Attorney General's Office is known in Guatemala, and Prosecutor Eva Sosa Perez voiced her opposition to the ruling. She said there was no investigation in place to justify the actions taken, and that Paz y Paz's personal property should not be affected by accusations related to her public post. 

Paz y Paz, it appears, has already left the country, even while the case continues to snake through the judicial system.

InSight Crime Analysis

Although Judge Reinoso might deny it, this case is clearly a political attack, meant to send a message to all judicial employees who pretend to bring cases against the country's elite.

That's what Paz y Paz did. As chronicled by InSight Crime, Paz y Paz gained international recognition for her work in obtaining the conviction of former General Efrain Ríos Montt on genocide charges. She also took action against Mexico's brutal Zetas criminal group, worked to gain justice for the country's female victims, and pushed for institutional reforms. 

SEE ALSO: Guatemala: The War of Paz y Paz

However, Paz y Paz's attempts at reform earned her powerful enemies within the Guatemalan elite. The historic Rios Montt decision was quickly overturned by the Constitutional Court. Conservative politicians, former soldiers and businessmen accused her of having a political agenda, and in a February 2014 decision, she was forced out of her post early based on a technicality. 

In her run for a second term this year, Paz y Paz was excluded from the short list of six names given to President Otto Perez Molina, from which to select the new attorney general.

The attempt to prosecute her on administrative grounds is like rubbing dirt in her wounds. To begin with, the contract dates back to the year 2000. Paz y Paz was attorney general between 2010 and 2014. There are have been numerous other attorney generals in that time period who neither paid the contract nor faced a lawsuit.

Secondly, in a civil suit against a former public sector employee, it is rare to freeze assets, much less prohibit the movement of the accused. 

Thirdly, as Nomada points out, Judge Reinoso has suspicious ties to the very elite and criminal interests that vilified Paz y Paz. The judge, according to a United Nations organization cited by Nomada, has favored money launderers and ex military personnel accused of human rights abuses. 

"The system will not pardon Claudia Paz y Paz for defying it," Nomada wrote. 

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

BRAZIL / 24 MAR 2022

The 2021 ranking of the world's most violent cities predictably features a heavy presence by Latin American and Caribbean population…

EL SALVADOR / 18 MAY 2021

Though far from revelatory, a new list of officials the United States government suspects of corruption and drug trafficking in…

COCAINE / 2 DEC 2020

Authorities in Guatemala have arrested seven individuals, among them four police officers, accused of belonging to a criminal organization…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.