The Westport News has a piece by Sonia Pérez relating to yet another instance where members of the judiciary are being targeted by supporters of corruption in Guatemala. Judge Pablo Xitumul has been involved in the sentencing of high profile criminals, including former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and former Vice President Roxana Baldetti.
One of Guatemala’s most prominent judges faces the possibility of losing his immunity from legal action in a case that he claims is meant to intimidate the independent judges in a country whose judicial system is widely seen as under attack.
Guatemala’s Supreme Court on Wednesday was expected to receive an investigator’s report on a 2019 traffic confrontation between Judge Pablo Xitumul and a police officer, both of whom accuse the other of abuse of authority.
The court could remove the immunity from prosecution granted to judges, opening Xitumul to legal action by people he has sentenced to prison — a group that includes numerous powerful figures, including former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and former Vice President Roxana Baldetti.
The Supreme Court often decides such cases on the day they are submitted.
The judge received threats following an 80-year sentence for genocide he imposed in 2013 on Rios Montt — which was later overturned by the country’s Constitutional Court.. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered the government take measures to protect Xitumul and other judges on Guatemala’s High Risk court division.
He claims opponents are seizing upon the 2019 traffic incident to send a message to other officials who act against the corrupt and powerful.
Xitumul said he believes high-ranking officials — including some members of the Supreme Court — want to strip his immunity to punish him for going after corruption.
“It’s revenge,” Xitumul said, as well as “a message for the High-Risk judges for being objective, impartial and independent.”
Xitumul said that he has been sued more than 30 times. If he loses his immunity, there is a long line of people coming for him.
You can read the full piece, here, Guatemala judge says those he’s sentenced seeking revenge.