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Last Updated: 06/29/2012
The Creation of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala: Miscalculation by a ‘Corporate Mafia State’?
Matthew Kennis

This paper traces the development of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). A UN affiliated hybrid International-National quasi-judicial entity, CICIG was mandated to help investigate and prosecute organized crime groups in Guatemala and was heralded as an important step forward in the fight against impunity. This paper explores the often heard narrative that human rights groups successfully convinced first the Portillo administration and then the Berger government to agree to support CICIG, and analyzes alternative rationales. The paper suggests that the Portillo government sought to derive short term benefits from supporting the agreement but may have miscalculated in its assessment of long term risks. The Berger administration clearly derived benefits from the agreement, including the reinstatement of certain US military aid, as did the Colom administration. The paper also suggests that despite its mandate to strengthen national investigations and the judiciary system, some of CICIG's greatest successes were achieved through public actions and the eventual resignation of the founding Commissioner Castresana. The paper concludes that even though CICIG's institutional reform efforts have been piecemeal, they are significant nonetheless.

Note: This analysis does not yet include Commissioner Dall´Anese's tenure as head of CICIG.

The Creation of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala: Miscalculation by a ‘Corporate Mafia State’?[1]

In December 2006, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) was created through an agreement signed by the State of Guatemala and the United Nations (UN).[2] A unique, UN affiliated but independent, hybrid International-National quasi-judicial entity, it was heralded by the international community as an important step forward in the fight against impunity in Guatemala. In March 2007, US President George W. Bush, during a visit to Guatemala, stated “President Berger is working with the United Nations to form an international commission to help investigate and prosecute organized crime in Guatemala, and the United States strongly supports this effort.”[3] In May 2007, the Guatemalan Constitutional Court approved of its constitutionality. CICIG began operations in January 2008 after the UN Secretary General appointed former Spanish prosecutor and Judge Carlos Castresana. CICIG’s creation, however, was neither smooth nor inevitable. An earlier effort begun in January 2003 to create a similar body with a stronger mandate - the Commission to Investigate Illegal Armed Groups and Clandestine Security Apparatuses (CICIACS) – was held to be unconstitutional in August 2004 by a decision of the Guatemalan Constitutional Court, because it infringed on the exclusive prosecutorial authority of the Public Prosecutor’s office (Ministério Público).[4]

In the years leading up to the CICIACS/CICIG processes, reports by Guatemalan and International human rights organizations[5] and UN procedures[6] chronicled the substantial weaknesses of the Guatemalan police and judiciary, the infiltration by military and former military officers allied with organized crime groups into key government positions, and ongoing and increasing violence[7] and threats against human rights defenders and social movement actors.

Godoy and Godoy (2005) argue that the distinction between “common” and “political” crime is so tenuous that it obscures more than it illuminates: “stubborn adherence to these categories has become the Achilles heel of the human rights movement in Latin America, producing a dangerous disconnect between the concerns that most citizens consider paramount and the issues traditionally advocated by rights groups. Populist politicians have stepped into the breach - many of them with individual and institutional ties to past atrocities - promising a platform of mano dura [iron fist rule] that has paved the way for the rollback of many hard-won democratic rights.”[8] Survey data from Guatemala also show that insecurity has a “significant and negative effect on support for democratic regimes.”[9]

The 36 year long Guatemalan internal armed conflict, during which an estimated 200,000 mostly civilians were killed,[10] came to an end with the signing of the 1996 peace accords.[11] The UN Historical Clarification Commission report (CEH) concluded that the Guatemalan army had committed acts of genocide against groups of Mayan Indigenous people between 1981 and 1983,[12] the period corresponding to parts of both the Lucas Garcia and Rios Montt military regimes. According to Fletcher et al (2009)[13] the absence of criminal trials as part of the Guatemalan peace accords may have reflected the lack of international consensus and political will to impose accountability at that time.

Gavigan (2009)[14] explains how the Guatemalan army (and especially military intelligence officers) increasingly became involved with – and started developing their own - organized crime groups during the internal armed conflict, and especially as US military assistance was reduced in the 1980’s. In addition, Gavigan says that connections with international criminal enterprises became very lucrative as drug shipments re-routed through Central America in response to effective US interdiction. And these networks and organizations remained intact at the time the final Peace Accords were signed. According to Godoy and Godoy “it is an open secret that many ex-military men (and probably also some ex-guerrillas) are now active in most forms of organized crime in the country, including drug trafficking, auto theft, bank heists, and kidnappings.”[15]

Though writing in 2005, Godoy and Godoy’s characterization of how violence in Guatemala is committed remains accurate: “today's human rights violations are increasingly carried out by an unconventional enemy operating through the fusion of common (both petty and organized) and political crime. In truth, the melding of organized and political violence is nothing new in Guatemala, but in some ways its dynamic has flipped in the postwar period.”[16]

In light of the serious violence, ongoing impunity and non-fulfillment of many Peace Accords provisions – especially the 1994 Human Rights Accord[17] - Guatemalan human rights groups and the human rights Ombudsman’s office (PDDH) – with the support of international human rights groups such as the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) - pushed for the CICIACS agreement because they recognized the connections between common and political crime. CICIACS, therefore, was a new strategy to press for accountability for internal armed conflict era human rights violations by focusing on organized crime and the parallel power networks where the military operated. Their decision to develop the CICIACS mandate with strong investigative and prosecutorial powers was, in part, due to their concern that any independent authority that was forced to rely on the Guatemalan police and judicial institutions and governmental political will was doomed to be irrelevant, if not fail completely. According to WOLA, advocacy efforts by Guatemalan, US and European groups successfully pressured the Portillo government to formally request the assistance of the UN, leading to a technical mission and the signing of an agreement in January 2004 between the Guatemalan government and the UN.[18] The Portillo administration vacated power the following week, leaving CICIACS to the incoming Oscar Berger government.

The emergence of the concerns about the need to end impunity for human rights violations and dismantle the parallel power networks and organized crime groups that had infiltrated the government has been credited to a transnational network of human rights activists who worked tirelessly for many years to bring these issues to the attention of Guatemalan national leaders and the international community. This often heard narrative - that human rights groups successfully convinced Guatemalan national leaders, despite previous resistance, to change their positions and agree to support and implement accountability efforts – illustrates impressive advocacy impact, but the ways and reasons this happened need to be examined. It is also necessary to understand what role international organizations (IO’s) played in the norms emergence process.

Finnemore and Sikkink (1998)[19] explain how norms entrepreneurs, through a combination of expertise and information, identify and define issues that come from an ideational commitment to their organizational or coalitional platform. In order for norms to emerge transnational networks have to work to gain the support of a coalition of NGOs, international organizations or agencies, and ally states. Keck and Sikkink (1999)[20] also explain how transnational advocacy networks employ the “boomerang pattern,” circumventing direct resistance from states and relying on lateral pressure from ally states, NGO’s and IO’s.

Clifford Bob (2005)[21] identifies the ‘gatekeeper’ role that large international NGO’s can play in deciding whether to support local groups’ advocacy efforts. Carpenter (2007)[22] argues that issue definition and issue adoption are distinct parts of the norm emergence process and IO’s also play a significant ‘gatekeeper’ role in the adoption stage. Carpenter illustrates this through a comparative study of campaigns on children and armed conflict (CaAC). Whereas work on ‘child soldiers’ did emerge and has proliferated, work on ‘children born of wartime rape’ has not. He attributes this, in part, to inter-network politics and to resistance within UNICEF and other UN agencies.

This paper, therefore, will try to explore these questions by applying realist and constructivist theories to explain 1) why the Portillo government, under the banner of Rios Montt’s FRG party signed the CICIACS agreement; 2) why negotiations between the Berger government and the UN continued after the August 2004 Constitutional Court decision struck down CICIACS; and 3) why the Berger government ultimately signed the CICIG agreement and secured its ratification by the Guatemalan Congress. Furthermore, given the long term presence of UN agencies in Guatemala, this paper will apply liberal institutionalist theory to explore what role UN agencies might have played in adopting the concerns of, and empowering, human rights groups to advocate for accountability and an end to impunity.

This paper will also explore Andrew Moravcsik’s republican liberal theory to tentatively suggest that the present Alvaro Colom administration has often supported CICIG in order to guarantee its own survival and “lock-in” certain preferential policy gains. Finally, this paper will explore what lessons may be drawn and generalized from the CICIG case.

Why did President Portillo’s Administration Agree to CICIACS?

The first section assesses the evidence of competing arguments for why the Portillo administration signed CICIACS. The realist argument says that the Portillo administration had packed the Constitutional Court with its allies and those supporting Rios Montt and they knew the court would never approve CICIACS. Therefore they sought to derive whatever benefits and prestige they could in the short term without much concern for any long term costs. An adjunct to this argument is that Foreign Minister Edgar Gutierrez, who originally signed the agreement for the government with the human rights Ombudsman (before the Guatemala-UN signing in January 2004) - and was formerly a leading human rights activist, but by January 2003 mostly discredited because of his connection to the Portillo administration - was seeking to rehabilitate his image in order to position himself better as the administration left office and therefore successfully pushed the administration to let him sign.

Alternatively, a constructivist argument says that the Portillo administration was under significant national and international pressure to reign in the illegal activities of organized crime groups and turn the tide on the deteriorating human rights situation. Since local human rights groups refused to cooperate with Portillo’s own ad-hoc presidential commission to investigate death threats and attacks, he bowed to pressure and agreed to the civil society endorsed/human rights Ombudsman’s CICIACS proposal, despite opposition from within his own FRG party.

A hybrid constructivist-realist argument might say that because of pressure from advocacy groups, the US government was convinced that CICIACS was needed to effectively fight the drug trade and therefore used its leverage on foreign assistance, among other things, to convince the Portillo administration to support it. One example of this is the US government’s decertification of Guatemala in early 2003 as a cooperating state in the fight against the drug trade. The US, however, requested a national interest waiver to forgo sanctions and then recertified the country in September 2003.[23]

Why Did Negotiations Continue after the August 2004 Constitutional Court Decision?

After the Constitutional Court held that CICIACS’ mandate could not include independent prosecutorial authority, it is surprising that the Berger government worked to revise the agreement and revive negotiations with the UN, especially given that previous efforts at peace accord implementation had been unsuccessfully implemented or dropped after earlier setbacks. In addition, the business community - represented by CACIF - , with which President Berger was closely associated, had historically supported or aligned with conservative regimes and likely did not want to empower the state in any way that might impact or curtail its business operations or freedom to act.

A realist argument might say that since the Berger administration had already seen that specific benefits would be received after fulfilling elements of the peace accords – in this case, after nominally completing a reduction of the Guatemalan military from roughly 27,000 to 15,500 troops, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld traveled to Guatemala and announced the release of $3.2 million in US military aid that had been on hold for 15 years[24] – they decided that ongoing negotiations were likely to lead to more and greater benefits, possibly in the form of additional security related monies – something that could help Berger with the members of the military inside his GANA party coalition. Another plausible reason to continue negotiations was the fact that since some members of the US Congress were supportive of a CICIACS like agreement, and the Guatemalan business community strongly supported the DR-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), the Berger administration may have been concerned that some members of the US congress may condition their DR-CAFTA ‘yes vote’ on progress towards an impunity solution.[25]

A constructivist argument might say that the CICIACS process, though ultimately unsuccessful, increased the awareness of the organized crime problem and support for the anti-impunity norm, which put continuous pressure on the government to pursue another agreement, especially as violence remained high and attacks on civil society continued. Another plausible interpretation is that since Berger was elected to office, in part, on his campaign commitments to advance peace accord implementation, he genuinely believed that progress on impunity – even if slow - was important for the country, as well as for his reputation. Thirdly, the active role played by two human rights oriented officials within the administration – Vice President Eduardo Stein and Presidential Human Rights Commissioner Frank LaRue – convinced Berger to empower them to accompany the negotiations process. Finally, a combination of the deteriorating security situation and ongoing advocacy by the human rights community, who often pressed US and European officials to raise the issue during bilateral meetings (encouraging issue linkage), persuaded the administration to continue discussions, this time bringing the UN into the process earlier for consultations during the development stage of the new agreement.

Why did President Berger Sign CICIG and Usher it through Congress?

I have laid out some different explanations of why the Berger administration may have set to work on revising the CICIACS document and re-started negotiations, but why did the Berger administration actually sign the CICIG agreement with the UN on December 12, 2006 and then proceed to push it through Congress, ensuring complete GANA party loyalty? Berger could have prolonged negotiations until his term ran out, leaving the signing decision to his successor; or, like the Portillo administration, Berger could have signed the agreement and left it to flounder, either by not actively lobbying Congress, by fomenting opposition within the GANA business network, or by creating a roadblock, such as claiming a dearth of appropriate office space.

CICIG Signature

Realists might argue that since the CICIG mandate was much weaker than the original CICIACS proposal - CICIG would only be able to act as a private prosecutor (querellante adhesivo) and would have to refer all cases to Guatemalan prosecutors, therefore leaving it up to the authorities to pursue cases - Berger had little to lose by signing. Berger, at the same time, could have claimed a victory against impunity and promoted his own leadership on the measure within the international community. Furthermore, Berger could have focused on the good governance, anti-corruption and rule of law elements of the agreement, emphasizing these norms in relation to the DR-CAFTA agreement which came into force on July 1, 2006,[26] thereby further solidifying his stature within the business community he would re-join after leaving office.

Constructivists might argue that the strong personalities and skills of Eduardo Stein and Frank LaRue, backed up by an active Guatemalan human rights community, exerted enough advocacy pressure from both within and externally to get a reluctant Berger to sign the agreement. Following on the rationale for continuing the negotiations after CICIACS’ failure, Berger may have decided that given his administrations’ commitment to the process, he also had to follow through with a political commitment to the UN. Finally, maybe more symbolic than anything, December 2006 was the 10th anniversary of the signing of peace accords that ended the internal armed conflict - an important milestone that he could use to champion accountability.

CICIG Congressional Ratification

After Eduardo Stein signed the CICIG agreement with the UN on December 12, 2006, in January he started conferring with political parties to explain some of the agreements’ details and lobby on its behalf.[27] On February 19, 2007, the main Guatemalan Daily Prensa Libre came out with an article which cited the Vice President as saying that organized crime effectively had control of six of Guatemala’s 22 departments and a foothold in three others.[28] That same day three Salvadoran members of the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) and their driver traveling to Guatemala were tortured, shot to death and then set on fire in their car. Four police officers, including the head of the organized crime unit of the Guatemalan Police, were arrested and charged with the murders. While in their cells in a maximum security prison, the four suspects were killed just before they were to be questioned by FBI agents helping in the investigation.[29] A few days later, Stein admitted that organized crime had infiltrated the Guatemalan Police.[30] Not long afterwards, despite resistance from Rios Montt’s FRG Party, Otto Perez Molina of the Patriot Party (PP) and Alvaro Colom of the National Unity for Hope Party (UNE) got behind the agreement, and the Berger administration sent CICIG to the Congress for debate and ratification. Ultimately, because of the way in which the measure came to the floor, CICIG needed to pass Congress by a two-thirds majority, which it narrowly did on August 1, 2007 with all members from the PP, UNE and GANA political parties unanimously in support.

A realist argument might say that after the PARLACEN murders, the country was shocked and the security situation was shown to be so precarious that Berger had to use all his leverage to try and secure ratification to calm the country and assure the international community that there was a credible response and solution available. In addition, given that the two other main presidential candidates Perez Molina and Colom had already come out in favor of CICIG, Berger needed to throw his energy behind the agreement to aid his own party’s presidential candidate, Alejandro Giammattei, in the upcoming September 2007 elections.

A constructivist argument might say that the PARLACEN murders helped to put a human face to the concerns about unchecked organized crime and clandestine groups and galvanized support for accountability and a desire to do something. In WOLA’s retrospective on the CICIG advocacy campaign, they attribute some of the success to a coordinated effort in the lead up to the CICIG congressional vote to secure endorsements and statements of support from the US Congress, European Parliament, Salvadoran Congress, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a coalition of human rights and religious groups. They also point to a timely editorial in the New York Times on July 31, which was reprinted in Spanish in the Guatemalan dailies the next day (the day of the vote)[31] and helped to mobilize Congress deputies who were on the fence.

The Role of International Organizations

The UN Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) was initially created in 1994[32] to monitor and verify compliance with the commitments of the 1994 human rights accord. MINUGUA’s mandate was expanded to verify additional peace accords, and in 1998, some 18 months after the 1996 signing of final accords that officially ended the internal armed conflict, MINUGUA’s mandate was once again broadened to include monitoring of all the elements of the peace accords. Santiso (2002)[33] considers UN involvement in Guatemala particularly profound “as it sought to reinvent the state and reconfigure society via the commitments contained in the successive agreements and the final peace accord.”

Dodson and Jackson (2004) [34] write that the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office (PDDH) initially saw MINUGUA’s arrival in 1994 as well resourced competition, and relationships between the two organizations remained cool for many years. Gavigan says that even though MINGUA’s reports provided reliable information that NGO’s could use to lobby the Guatemalan government, the lack of reform made it hard for MINUGUA to refrain from criticizing the government.[35]

Santiso explains how the Guatemalan peace agreements linking of peace and development helped create a niche for UNDP. Santiso characterizes UN involvement in Central America in two parts, as a ‘first generation’ focused on peacekeeping and democratic transition and a ‘second generation’ centered on peace maintenance, democratic consolidation and sustainable development.[36] With the peace accords behind, the UN’s focus was on democratic consolidation and governance and implementation of the peace accords. Implementation suffered a blow in May 1999 when, amid low turnout, a package of legislative reforms was rejected in a national referendum, though it had been passed by Congress in 1998 and supported by President Arzú at the time.[37] UNDP’s ‘second generation’ emphasis on the connection between democratic governance and sustainable human development led it to work on building political parties (including turning guerilla groups into parties); strengthening democratic institutions, such as the judiciary; assisting with the truth commission; and reforming public administration, especially tax reform and budgeting.[38] For one example of the continued deficiency in these areas, Anita Isaacs (2010) [39] highlights how recent attempts to moderately increase tax revenue - still below the mandated levels of the peace accords - , continues to stall.

Given the long term presence of MINUGUA and UNDP in Guatemala, and since May 2005 an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),[40] what role have these agencies played in encouraging human rights groups to press for accountability? Liberal institutionalist theory says that even though states are rational actors in the sense they still seek to maximize their gains, since institutions can share information and facilitate interaction, states may be willing to cooperate to reduce transaction costs. Institutions are still instrumental but cooperation continues because of the concern for issue linkage and material loss in other forums.

As the lead international agencies accompanying the peace accords, first UNDP and then MINUGUA helped to broker agreements between the Guatemalan government and the guerilla forces (URNG). MINUGUA’s lack of formal peace accord implementation structures[41] and UNDP’s limited ability to implement reforms, while largely a product of a lack of governmental political will, did not win many supporters even within the Guatemala human rights community.

Discussing the original CICIACS process in an interview with WOLA in January 2008, Martha Doggett, a senior officer and head of the Guatemala desk at UNDPA during the CICIACS period (and now Director of UNDPA’s American Division) said “The idea that you were going to have NGOs and the Guatemalan government reach an agreement, and that it was going to be binding on the United Nations, was just not helpful. This was a civil-society initiative ... The United Nations is an organization of member states, and although we work with civil society groups often, our primary counterpart is always the government.”[42]

But despite these frustrations, UNDP’s focus on strengthening democratic institutions and MINUGUA’s regular reporting on accountability progress (or lack thereof) did provide local human rights group’s advocacy opportunities where they could use MINUGUA reports to raise concerns about insecurity, ongoing violations and lack of reform. MINUGUA’s own increasing inability to signal optimism also reinforced human rights groups’ concerns. Similarly, the limited progress that UNDP programs achieved could have been used to press the government to follow through on their commitments, especially since the disbursal of UNDP monies was conditioned on government assent to the development strategy.[43]

In the spirit of cooperation, and following on the failure of CICIACS, President Berger’s re-initiation of direct contact with the UN is thought to have jumpstarted the CICIACS/CICIG process. Despite Doggett’s remarks in her WOLA interview distancing UNDPA from CICIACS and expressing little surprise that the initial accord failed to pass the Constitutional Court - implicitly because UNDPA had not been consulted appropriately - , a UNDPA newsletter from summer 2007 brags that UNDPA “has since 2003 anchored UN efforts to establish such a probe [CICIG], in response to requests from the Guatemalan government and human rights groups who have seen criminality spiral in the decade since the end of the country’s civil war.” The newsletter goes on to say how the Guatemalan government requested the UN’s help because of the “longstanding UN involvement in ending the country’s 36-year civil war” and its role in the post-conflict peace building enterprise. Furthermore, Doggett, quoted in the newsletter, says “we heard some recurring messages … we were told that we needed to design a mechanism ‘with teeth’ and secondly, that the country did not need just another report — another truth commission or study about the well-known problems in the justice system.”[44]

Judgment on the Three Main Questions

Why did President Portillo’s Administration Agree to CICIACS?

Though the human rights community’s advocacy on behalf of CICIACS and partnership with the PDDH seems to explain its emergence on the national political scene in January 2003 – in part because of the echoing concerns about impunity by the UN and their exasperation about sluggish reforms, it does not explain why the Portillo administration would ultimately agree to sign the agreement with the UN on January 7, 2004. The generally cool relationship between the PDDH and the UN may have signaled to the administration that despite any signatures, CICIACS was a non-starter. More likely is the realist explanation that the Portillo administration knew that the Constitutional Court would ultimately strike down the agreement and therefore felt free to sign and gain whatever benefits they could from its prestige. Portillo’s administration knew that the Court would vote against CICIACS because the Court had already voted in favor of Rios Montt’s 2003 bid to run for president on the FRG Party’s ticket. Despite voting in 1990 and 1995 against Rios Montt’s presidential run, in July 2003, after years of FRG judicial appointments, the Constitutional Court held that article 186 of the 1985 Constitution barring anyone who had participated in a coup from running for president or vice-president did not apply retroactively (Montt had come to power in a military coup in 1982). The New York Times ran an editorial criticizing the decision.[45] The US government’s early 2003 decertification over drug trade non-compliance – but with no sanctions - may have been connected to concerns about impunity and contributed to Guatemala’s willingness to sign the agreement, but it appears to have been a symbolic effort mandated by the US Congress, not a policy of the US administration. It was overturned a few months later, before the Guatemala-UN CICIACS agreement.

Why Did Negotiations Continue after the August 2004 Constitutional Court Decision?

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s visit and announcement of the release of military aid was a clear example of benefits deriving from peace accord implementation. Realist theory offers a plausible explanation that the Berger administration would continue on the negotiations path out of a realistic expectation of additional benefits upon meeting benchmarks. On the assertion about CICIACS conditionality and DR-CAFTA, at this time, evidence does not support the argument that Berger was playing politics with the US Congress, though given the extremely close vote in the US Congress this explanation should be further explored. Constructivist theory better explains that the Portillo administration’s initial agreement on CICIACS, despite its failure to pass Constitutional muster, let the genie out of the box – a sort of miscalculation on Portillo and Rios Montt’s part. The increased concern about organized crime and support for the anti-impunity norm then had to be addressed by the Berger government. Berger’s

[1] Amnesty International, “Guatemala's Lethal Legacy: Past Impunity and Renewed Human Rights Violations,” February 2002,

[2] “Agreement between the United Nations and the State of Guatemala on the establishment of an International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (“CICIG”),” Signed 12 December 2006 in New York.

[3] “President Bush and President Berger of Guatemala Participate in Joint Press Availability,” The National Palace, Guatemala City, Guatemala, March 12, 2007.

[4] Corte de Constitucionalidad, Guatemala, Opinión Consultiva, Expediente No. 1250-2004, 5 August 2004.

[5] A few examples are: Movimiento Nacional por los Derechos Humanos, “Breve análisis de la situación de defensores de derechos humanos en Guatemala,” May 13, 2005,;

Washington Office on Latin America, “Hidden Powers in Post-Conflict Guatemala: A study on illegal armed groups in post-conflict Guatemala and the forces behind them,” September 2003,; Human Rights Watch, “Guatemala: Political Violence Unchecked, Guatemala Mission Findings,” August 22, 2002,

[6] United Nations, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alton,” UN Doc., A/HRC/4/20/Add.2, 19 Feb. 2007. Based on available statistics from 2005, the study reports a conviction rate of 1.4% in cases involving “crimes against life.”

[7] The UN Development Programme (UNDP) reported that the number of murders rose 120% over a seven year period from 2,655 deaths in 1999 to 5,885 deaths in 2006, with a homicide rate of 108 per 100,000 in Guatemala City. “Informe estadistico de la violencia en Guatemala,” December 2007, The number of murders deaths rose to 6,292 by 2008. “Datos de Violencia Homicida en Guatemala,”

[8] Angelina Snodgrass Godoy and Angela Snodgrass Godoy, ‘“La Muchacha Respondona’: Reflections on the Razor's Edge between Crime and Human Rights,” Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 2 (May, 2005), 597-624, 600.

[9] Orlando J. Pérez, “Democratic Legitimacy and Public Insecurity: Crime and Democracy in El Salvador and Guatemala,” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 118, No. 4 (Winter, 2003/2004), 627-644, 642.

[10] Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH), “Report of the Commission for Historical Clarification, Guatemala Memory of Silence 1999, Conclusion para 2,

[11] Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace, December 29, 1996,

[12] Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH), “Report of the Commission for Historical Clarification, Guatemala Memory of Silence 1999, Conclusion paras 108-122,

[13] Laurel E. Fletcher, Harvey M. Weinstein, and Jamie Rowen, “Context, Timing and the Dynamics of Transitional Justice: A Historical Perspective,” Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 1 (February 2009), 163-220.

[14] Patrick Gavigan, “Organized Crime, Illicit Power Structures and Guatemala's Threatened Peace Process,” International Peacekeeping, Vol. 16, Issue 1, 2009, 62 – 76.

[15] Angelina Snodgrass Godoy and Angela Snodgrass Godoy, ‘“La Muchacha Respondona’: Reflections on the Razor's Edge between Crime and Human Rights,” Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 2 (May, 2005), 597-624, 607.

[16] Ibid, at 602.

[17] Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights, March 29, 1994,

[18] “Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Guatemala for the Establishment of a Commission for the Investigation of Illegal Groups and Clandestine Security Organizations in Guatemala (‘‘CICIACS’’)’, 7 January 2004,

[19] Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change,” International Organization, Vol. 52, No. 4 (autumn 1998), 887-917.

[20] Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, “Transnational Advocacy Networks in International
and Regional Politics,” International Social Science Journal, Vol. 51, No. 159 (March 1999), 89-101.

[21] Clifford Bob, “Merchants of Morality,” Foreign Policy No. 129 (Mar/Apr 2002), 36-45.

[22] R. Charli Carpenter, “Setting the Advocacy Agenda: Theorizing Issue Emergence and Nonemergence in Transnational Advocacy Networks,” International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 51, No. 1 (March 2007), 99-120.

[23] Patrick Gavigan, “Organized Crime, Illicit Power Structures and Guatemala's Threatened Peace Process,” International Peacekeeping, Vol. 16, Issue 1, 2009, pp. 62–76.

[24] Ginger Thompson, “U.S. to Lift Ban on Military Aid to Guatemala,” March 25, 2005,

[25] The US House of Representatives passed DR-CAFTA on July 28, 2005, by a vote of 217-215,

[26] Documents relating to the negotiations and signing of the
Central America - U.S. FTA, Foreign Trade Information System, OAS:: SEDI:: DEDTT,

[27] Washington Office on Latin America, “Advocates against Impunity: A Case Study on Human Rights Organizing in Guatemala,” January 2009,

[28] Lorena Seijo and Carlos Menocal, “Crimen organizado, tras diputaciones y alcaldías,” Prensa

Libre, February 19, 2007,

[29] Washington Office on Latin America, “Advocates against Impunity: A Case Study on Human Rights Organizing in Guatemala,” January 2009,

[30] Francisco González Arrecis, “Eduardo Stein: Crimen se infiltra en Estado,” Prensa Libre, February 24, 2007,

[31] Washington Office on Latin America, “Advocates against Impunity: A Case Study on Human Rights Organizing in Guatemala,” January 2009,

[32] United Nations General Assembly Resolution, “Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala, A/RES/48/267, 28 September 1994,