Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Recreating CICIG Outside Guatemala

Mike Allison writes about the role of CICIG (the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala).

CICIG's existence and continuation is jointly agreed upon by the Government of Guatemala and the United Nations. Almost all of CICIG's operations, maybe all of them, are paid for by the international community. In that sense, there's no real sovereignty issue. However, I can understand some frustration that people have with the UN and US pressuring Otto Perez Molina to extend its mandate after Perez Molina made it clear that he no longer wanted CICIG in the country.

A question I've been pondering is what conditions make a government likely to accept CICIG? It requires a president to request it and a legislature to approve it. As I understand it, Oscar Berger pushed for CICIG because of all the criticism about violence in Guatemala (though he too later questioned it). But are there structural conditions that we could potentially see in other countries that would be optimal for a CICIG copy? For example, when would we see a president push so hard, as Berger did?

It's not simple because it requires voluntary delegation of sovereignty. Even ratification in Guatemala was very much in question until three Salvadoran members of the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) were murdered, which Berger used to emphasize the need for the legislature to approve CICIG.

CICIG has worked, which makes it scary, which makes it less likely elected officials will want to create one of their own. At what point does a combination of internal and external pressures make it happen?


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