The report “A Window of Opportunity: Support to the Rule of Law in Guatemala” examines the state of Guatemala’s justice sector after the closure of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in September 2019. It discusses how recent threats against the justice sector have reversed much of the progress that was made to strengthen the rule of law during CICIG’s existence. 

Guatemala cannot combat corruption and strengthen the rule of law without ensuring an independent and impartial judiciary. With a new incoming executive, the report underlines that the international community must seize the window of opportunity to re-engage with Guatemala in combating corruption. This will require finding new and effective models of development cooperation to ensure more sustainable ways of strengthening the rule of law. 

In December 2019, the ILAC team interviewed a number of organisations and justice sector actors in Guatemala. “The Window of Opportunity” report was coordinated by ILAC and is a collective effort between ILAC and its member organisations, the Law Society of England and Wales and the Cyrus R Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar Association

Key recommendations to continue strengthening the rule of law in Guatemala

  • Guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary requires not only that Guatemala’s executive and legislature must adhere to the separation of powers, but that judges are empowered to act independently and impartially without fear of retaliation or personal attacks.  
  • Breaking isolation and returning to multilateralism will require that Guatemala and the international community agree on new long-term cooperation efforts to fight corruption. 
  • Continuing efforts to fight corruption after CICIG’s closure will require that Guatemala develop new and innovative mechanisms to eradicate corruption with support from and in cooperation with the international community. 

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) funded ILAC’s report and mission.