CICIG and the Rule of Law

Today I read an article (the link to which is provided below) which analyzed the rule of law, and how laws apply to different countries, in Latin America. The article stated that “One of the primary causes of political violence in Central America during the second half of the 20th century was the absence of democratic rule of law…When the law was applied, it favored those in positions of authority, often to the detriment of the most vulnerable.” This illustrates the problem of impunity faced by numerous Latin American countries.The article goes on to illustrate how many countries’ judicial systems collapsed after civil wars in that country and that initial reforms were futile. However, there has been a significant shift toward more comprehensive reforms in recent years.” One such reform was a two year investigation led by CiCiG, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala. “The commission has helped to solve several important crimes and remove thousands of corrupt police officers from their jobs, and many police units are better-trained and better-equipped than they were prior to CICIG’s establishment. CICIG also provided several legal reform proposals and technical assistance to Congress to strengthen the criminal justice system.”

This article highlights the issue of international intervention in a state’s governance in order to decrease the power and influence of organized crime. The topic of CICIG is a very complex one. While the sovereignty of a state should always be respected, international aid may be required if the state is impotent. Seeing as CICIG is a very useful program that has caused an increase in the rate of homicide convictions in Guatemala from an estimated 2 percent to 10 percent, and has caused impunity to fall from 95 percent to 70 percent. It is important to note that corruption has gone down significantly since CICIG intervened. Plus, CICIG does not overpower or take over the Guatemalan government, providing much needed anti-corruption efforts while still maintaining Guatemalan sovereignty. Perhaps, with further continued activity by CICIG, Guatemala may further decrease the levels of impunity and corruption.