The US and the UN spoke out on Tuesday to express their concern about the judicial situation in Guatemala, after the anti-corruption prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval was removed from office and later left the country.
EE.UU. ha announced that will “temporarily” pause cooperation with the Public Ministry of Guatemala, after the deputy spokesperson of the US Department, Jalina Porter, declared that her country “has lost confidence” in the Chief Prosecutor of Guatemala, Consuelo Porras.
According to Porter, the decision to remove Sandoval is part of “a pattern of behavior” that would point to “a lack of commitment to the rule of law and independent judicial and fiscal processes “.
For its part, the UN stated: “The ability of prosecutors to carry out their functions without intimidation or inappropriate interference is an essential requirement to respond and prevent corruption and impunity“, Held United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq at a press conference.
In addition, Hap recalled that since the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala was closed in 2019, “a growing number of former top prosecutors they had to leave the country“.
Investigations against the current government
Sandoval, 38, was fired last Friday by Porras, who accused him of alleged “abuse and frequent abuses “to the institutionality and even denounced that she herself had been a victim of “humiliation”.
However, Sandoval has explained that the power of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (FECI), which he headed, has been diminishing since Porras took office in 2019, mainly when he began to get involved in investigations against the current government.
The former prosecutor pointed out that an investigation in November last year, related to the former Minister of Communications of the Government of Jimmy Morales (2016-2020), “bothered too much” to certain power groups. In addition, it had also begun investigations against the former private secretary of the current president, Alejandro Giammattei.
The now former prosecutor was a key piece in the country’s anti-corruption fight, especially in the 2014-2019 period, when he collaborated in investigations that uncovered dozens of corruption cases that led to the imputation of more than 200 people, among which were former presidents Otto Pérez Molina (2012-2015) and Álvaro Colom Caballeros (2008-2012).
After being removed, Sandoval left this Saturday Guatemala via El Salvador, without having disclosed its final destination until now.
His impeachment sparked protests this weekend outside the presidential palace.