Declaration from Guatemala on the struggle against impunity

25/09/2014
Press release
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The FIDH member organisations in the Americas, meeting in Guatemala on 17th and 18th September 2014 at an International Seminar entitled “The role of judicial power in the fight against impunity regarding international crimes”, find that our region has been and is still a place where serious human rights violations and international crimes are committed and, despite the many years that have elapsed, for the most part, remain unpunished as do their perpetrators.

Despite the international obligations of States to investigate, judge and punish perpetrators and award reparations to the victims, there remain various impediments to achieving this that take away the rights of victims to justice, truth, reparations and guarantees of non recurrence. These four rights are inalienable, indivisible, complementary, inclusive and closely linked to security and development.

The basic obstacles to effective compliance with these rights have to do with the lack of judicial independence, inadequate legal frameworks to cater for amnesties, pardons, immunities, the result of political and/or economic pressure on attorneys and judges, the persecution of human rights defenders and the criminalization of protest movements.
Over these two days, the FIDH and the Americas organisations exchanged ideas on how to strengthen individual and collective strategies to fight impunity in cases of serious violations of human rights with particular emphasis on how to strengthen systems of national region and international justice.

The victims and the Guatemalan justice system were exemplary, at international level, in condemning ex General Rios Montt for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, however, the subsequent quashing of the verdict by a majority of the members of the Constitutional Court constitutes a serious setback and points to real shortcomings in terms of the independence of the judicial system. Our organisations flag our concerns about the uncertainty as to whether a new trial will take place and about the absence of guarantees in the selection process of new justices to serve on the country’s Supreme Court of Justice and Appeals Court.

The FIDH member organisations call upon all member states of the Americas, from north to south, to secure the independence of the judicial system and to remove all obstacles so that justice and accountability prevail in the region and that the Inter-American system be strengthened.

We, FIDH organisations, reassert our pledge to support the efforts of the victims in achieving the full implementation of their rights.

o Center for Constitutional Rights CCR (USA)
o Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos CMDPDH (México)
o Liga Mexicana por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos LIMEDDH (México)
o Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos CIPRODEH (Honduras
o Comité de Familiares de Desaparecidos y Detenidos de Honduras COFADEH (Honduras)
o Centro Nicaraguense de Derechos Humanos CENIDH (Nicaragua)
o Réseau Nationale de Défense des Droits de l’Homme RNDDH (Haití)
o Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos APRODEH (Perú)
o Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo CAJAR (Colombia)
o Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos CPDH (Colombia)
o Instituto latinoamericano de Servicios Legales Alternativos ILSA (Colombia)
o Asamblea Permanente de Derechos Humanos de Bolivia APDHB (Bolivia)
o Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos CEDHU (Ecuador)
o Justica Global (Brasil)
o Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales CELS (Argentina)
o Comité de Acción Jurídica CAJ (Argentina)
o Liga Argentina de derechos humanos LADH (Argentina)
o Corporación de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo CODEPU (Chile)
o Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos CNDH (República Dominicana)
y
o Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España APDHE

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