CICIG Comment for Inter American Dialogue

In my view the mandate for CICIG is unprecedented among international efforts to promote accountability and strengthen the rule of law. It has many of the attributes of an international prosecutor, but it operates under Guatemalan law, in the Guatemalan courts, and it follows Guatemalan criminal procedure, essential attributes for maintaining sovereignty.  There is no doubt that with recent events in Guatemala the Attorney General and indeed the people of the country have seized the opportunity provided by an independent and international body to begin the process of weeding out corruption and impunity. However, my main concerns of a CICIG like approach are; the financial burden, sustainability, and opportunity cost. We cannot lose sight that the challenges of creating capable institutions is both the problem and the solution. Some of the promising practices in institutional development that have emerged in Guatemala and elsewhere are as follows;

i)             Unambiguous rules, roles, and responsibilities, supported by codes of conduct and clear instructions;

ii)            Merit based recruitment, retention, and promotion;

iii)           Streamline work processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness

iv)          Transparency, predictability, and openness.

vi)          Adequate compensation and benefits for employees.

CICIG has demonstrated that focused commissions can create the momentum to target impunity and corruption.  This momentum needs to be harnessed to build credible state institutions.

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