Juan Francisco Sandoval wrote a piece for the ‘Justice in the Americas’ blog of the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF). The blog contains versions in Spanish and in English.
On March 5, 2003, I joined Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor’s Office as an intern, as part of my mandatory criminal practice, during my undergraduate studies in legal and social sciences at the State University of San Carlos, Guatemala (Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala). I never imagined that this initial internshipwould turn into a love for the defense of truth and justice, and that I would later participate in the prosecution and trial of three Guatemalan presidents, a vice president, dozens of legislators, state ministers, magistrates,and judges. All of these officials, and in turn cases, shared the common characteristic of having served as part of illicit political and economic networks that sought to generate impunity for their crimes.
The opportunity to work in public service allowed me to bring a little hope to the people of Guatemala who –like the majority of Latin American countries– have been destined to a history and life of eternal resistance in the face of injustice.
The rearrangement of the power structures in Guatemala, which made impunity the way to preserve their privileges, led to the total capture of state institutions, precipitated by various decisions taken by former President Jimmy Morales and his successor and current ruler.
In the case of Jimmy Morales, these decisions manifested themselves in a diplomatic confrontation with the United Nations with the obstinate intention of not renewing the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), as well as other decisions that sought to favor impunity, such as the appointment of Consuelo Porras as Attorney General of the Republic. The latter being the masterstroke to engender an environment of profound impunity.
The DPLF is a regional organisation comprised of professionals with a variety of nationalities, that promotes the Rule of Law in Latin America.