CC rejects unconstitutional change to rule that prevents the president from sacking head of MP

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By LatAm Reports Editor

With this resolution, Bernardo Arévalo – when he assumes the presidency – will not be able to dismiss the head of the MP if he has not been convicted of any crime.

The Constitutional Court (CC) declared, in a definitive way, the actions of unconstitutionality that sought to give the President of the Republic the power to dismiss the Attorney General and head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP).

As reported on 20 December, the decision of the seven CC judges who learned about the file was unanimous.

The magistrates they met were Héctor Hugo Pérez Aguilera, Néster Mauricio Vásquez Pimentel, Leyla Susana Lemus Arriaga, Roberto Molina Barreto, Dina Josefina Ochoa Escribá, Luis Alfonso Rosales Marroquín and Walter Paulino Jiménez Texaj.

With this resolution, the CC shields the figure of the Attorney General and head of the MP, who can only be dismissed by the president of the country when he faces a conviction with a final sentence.

It was noted that the CC rejected three actions of unconstitutionality, which were included in the same resolution.

The accumulated files were 6237-2023, 6288-2023 and 6295-2023 and were submitted by indigenous authorities and two groups of lawyers.

The actions sought the suspension of the second paragraph of article 14 of the Organic Law of the MP, which establishes the causes for the removal of the Attorney General and which was reformed in 2019.

With this reform, the removal of the head of the MP could be done only with justifiable cause that should be understood by the commission of a malicious crime during the exercise of his or her function, provided that there is a duly enforceable conviction. There shall be a total individual suspension of the exercise of his duties, once the pretrial detention order, a substitute measure or lack of merit shall be imposed with a substitute measure.

The unconstitutionalities sought to return the power to the President of the Republic to dismiss the head of the MP for justified cause and to withdraw from the article the mention of the conviction.

At the present juncture, what was intended was for Bernardo Arévalo, upon taking office on 14 January 2024, to have the power to dismiss Consuelo Porras, current Attorney General and head of the MP, whom several sectors point out of leading legal action against Arévalo, other members of the Seed Movement and judges of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

In the past, citizen blockades and protests were generated to demand the departure of Porras from the MP, for allegedly promoting a coup d’état.

They also point to the head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (Feci), Rafael Curruchiche; the auxiliary prosecutors Cinthia Monterroso and Leonor Morales; and the seventh criminal judge, Fredy Orellana, whom the sectors accuse of an offence and arbitrary interference with the electoral process.

Indigenous leaders had demanded President Alejandro Giammattei the dismissal of Porras, but he told them that due to the reforms to the Organic Law of the MP, the president no longer had that power.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in La PresnsiAI