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UN expert calls on Northern Triangle countries to ensure transparent selection of new attorneys general


GENEVA (3 April 2018) – An independent expert appointed by UN Human Rights Council has called on the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to underline their commitment to fight vice and corruption by ensuring the selection process for each country’s attorneys general is transparent and fair.

The so-called Northern Triangle countries are due to appoint new attorneys generals beginning next month.

“They will have a key role to play in breaking up the spiral of violence in these countries,” said the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Diego García-Sayán.

“The new attorneys general will face major challenges such as transnational criminal organizations operating in the area, corruption and impunity, all of which impede security and development in the Northern Triangle countries.”

In Guatemala, the process is already underway, and the President is expected to appoint a new attorney general by May 2018. In Honduras, the Nominating Board will be established in March 2018 to preselect candidates and the government of Juan Orlando Hernández has scheduled the election for the last trimester of 2018. In El Salvador, the Legislative Assembly should elect the Attorney General between November 2018 and January 2019.

“The selection processes should be inclusive, transparent and follow strict, clear and objective criteria to evaluate the integrity, suitability and competences of the candidates. It is critical that these selection processes are administered with transparency,” said García-Sayán. 

“The new Attorney Generals should have immaculate credentials and high standing in their field. They should understand the importance of anti-corruption efforts, judicial independence, and have a clear commitment to strengthening the rule of law.

"It is vital that women and indigenous peoples are fully involved throughout the process,” he said. “The media, independent monitoring bodies and civil society organizations must be allowed to play an oversight function and to communicate to the public without fear of reprisals.”


Mr. Diego García-Sayán (Peru) has been Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers since December 2016.  As a Special Rapporteur, Mr. García-Sayán is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

Stefano Sensi (+ 41 22 917-9237 / email: ssensi@ohchr.org)
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact
Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

This year, 2018, is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: www.standup4humanrights.org.