European Parliament proposes to freeze assets of Guatemalan Prosecutors and Judge

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By LatAm Reports Editor

A joint motion for a resolution was tabled by the European Parliament on the attempted coup d’état in Guatemala in which it calls on the Council to take immediate specific restrictive measures against the head of the MP and employees of that unit and a judge.

On 13 December 2023, the European Parliament presented a joint motion for a resolution on the attempted coup d’état in Guatemala, calling on the Council to take immediate specific restrictive measures, including asset freeze and travel ban, against officials of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) and a judge.

The motion for a resolution contains 10 points and in number 5 the importance of holding accountable those who impede democracy in Guatemala is stressed.

In this regard, it asks the Council to take immediate specific restrictive measures, including the freezing of assets and the travel ban, against Attorney General María Consuelo Porras Argueta; the head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (Feci), José Rafael Curruchiche Cucul; Judge Fredy Raúl Orellana Letona; the prosecutor of the Feci, Leonor Eugenia Morales Lazo; and the secretary general of the MP Ángel Arnoldo Pineda Ávila, among others.

The resolution states that these people are undermining the 2023 electoral process in Guatemala and systematically instrumentalize the judiciary to weaken the rule of law and criminalize opposition figures.

In point 8, it calls on the European External Action Service, the Member States and the Union Delegation to continue to monitor the situation in Guatemala, in particular the decisions of the MP, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Justice, until there are clear and serious guarantees that the will of the voters expressed in the general elections of 25 June 2023 and in the second round of the presidential elections of 20 August 2023 are respected.

It also expresses its support for the ongoing work of the Special Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) to help with the presidential transition, in accordance with the mandate of the OAS Permanent Council.

The resolution also calls on the competent Guatemalan authorities to implement the recommendations of the European Union Electoral Observation Mission, in particular those dealing with the shortcomings identified in the rule of law, the separation of powers and the promotion of human and political rights.

In addition, the European Parliament instructs its President to transmit this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the OAS, the United Nations, the authorities of Guatemala and the Parliament.

Condemns attempted coup d’état

In the proposal, in paragraph 1, Parliament condemns what it describes as an attempted coup d’état in Guatemala and – the continued efforts of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to invalidate the results of the general and presidential elections in Guatemala on the basis of unfounded accusations of fraud, and calls for an immediate end to these actions.
It also rejects all the actions for political reasons of some authorities that manifestly violate the Guatemalan Constitution, the rule of law, the integrity of the electoral process and the most fundamental principles of democracy, including the fundamental principle of the separation of powers.

Support for the President-elect

In paragraph 3 of the resolution, Parliament gives its support to the President-elect, Bernardo Arévalo, and calls for an orderly transition that will lead to his inauguration as the 52nd president of Guatemala on January 14, 2024.

Request to Giammattei and other institutions

The above-mentioned resultion also requests the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Supreme Electoral Court, Congress and President Alejandro Giammattei to take measures to preserve the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reject unacceptable attempts to invalidate the electoral results, to ensure respect for the will expressed by Guatemalan citizens with their votes and to ensure respect for their civil and political rights, integrity and security, including the right of elected officials to assume their duties properly, in accordance with the rules of the rules of the Guatemalan citizens.and Guatemalan laws.

On another point, the resolution mentions that the independence of the judiciary, political pluralism and freedom of expression of the entire Guatemalan people are fundamental rights and basic pillars of democracy and the rule of law and also expresses its deep concern at the continued deterioration of the rule of law in Guatemala.

Criminal persecution

The resolution also expresses concern about the arbitrary arrest of prosecutors, judges, former officials of the extinct International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and independent journalists, including José Rubén Zamora.

It calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all arbitrarily detained persons, as well as the dismissal of all unfounded criminal charges against them; calls on the Guatemalan authorities, in particular the Public Prosecutor Office, to refrain from any attempt to obstruct the work of human rights defenders, justice operators and journalists who have investigated and highlighted corruption, human rights violations and abuse of power.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Prensa Libre