The Guatemala Congress, no friend of integrity, transparency nor the rule of law, has again chosen to ignore a ruling of the Constitutional Court in swearing in a new justice to that same Court.
The Guatemalan Bar and Notaries Association (El Colegio de Abogados y Notarios de Guatemala – CANG) elected the criminal court judge Mynor Mauricio Moto Morataya as the new magistrate of the Constitutional Court (CC) to take the seat left vacant by the death of Bonerge Mejía Orellana. Moto, according to El Periódico, has issued questionable rulings and has been linked to those implicated in corruption cases, was elected despite not having the necessary requirements of of capacity, suitability and honesty. His position is to fill the seat until the next formal elections to the Constitutional Court, which should happen in 2021, but judicial elections in Guatemala have been problematic with the courting and buying of favours, which can help sustain corruption.
The link to this article in El Periódico, in Spanish for ‘What does the election of Mynor Moto mean for the CC?’ (¿Qué significa la elección de Mynor Moto para la CC?)
El Periódico had earlier reported that the Public Ministry’s office (Ministerio Público – MP) had requested that Moto should be subject to a pre-trial procedure with regard to the case of the “Chimaltenango by-pass road construction (Construcción carretera Libramiento de Chimaltenango).
The MP indicated that the judge’s actions caused serious damage to the investigative activities carried out by the Prosecutor’s Office and to the administration of justice. The MP filed a complaint about the possible commission of criminal conduct in the processing of said file.
The link to this article in El Periódico, in Spanish, for ‘MP to present a pre-trial request against the judge Mynor Moto’ (MP presentará antejuicio contra el juez Mynor Moto).
According to Prensa Libre, there are three emblematic cases for which the removal of his immunity has been requested – the Libramiento de Chimaltenango case, the Parallel Commissions 2020 (Comisiones paralelas 2020), and the ‘Lawyers of Impunity case (Bufete de la Impunidad).
You can read more of this, in Spanish, by Juan Manuel Vega, here, ‘Who is judge Mynor Moto and why does his election as a magistrate provoke controversy? (¿Quién es el juez Mynor Moto y por qué su elección como magistrado provoca controversia?)
HispanTV noted that only 20% of CANG’s members voted in the election – low even for Guatemala. They state that Guatemala is perpetuating corruption through choosing the magistrate from between two candidates, each of whom have been marked out for corruption. Guatemala has taken a backward step regarding the construction of an independent, honorable and legitimate Judicial System in electing Mynor Moto.
We posted a piece by Adriana Beltrán, of Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), during the summer which provides a useful outline in trying to understand the various ins-and-outs of the Guatemala judicial apparatus – you can read Behind the Fight to Hijack Guatemala’s Justice System here.