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Statements Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on continued persecution of justice officials in Guatemala

05 January 2024

Guatemalan lawyer Virginia Laparra leaves after attending a hearing to listen to her sentence at the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City, on December 16, 2022. © Johan ORDONEZ/AFP

The growing number of criminal cases brought against justice officials over the past 12 months in Guatemala is seriously concerning and undermines the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in the country.

The intimidation, harassment, prosecution and persecution of those fighting for accountability for human rights violations, including work on corruption cases, is reprehensible and must stop.

I note that Virginia Laparra, a former anti-corruption prosecutor at the Attorney General’s Office, who was released from jail this week remains under house arrest. I am concerned that the criminal proceedings against her lacked due process guarantees and her nearly two-year detention was arbitrary in consequence. She should be released unconditionally.

I reiterate my call on the authorities to take appropriate measures to strengthen and guarantee the independence of the justice system, and to take urgent measures to provide the necessary protection to justice officials.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In Geneva
Jeremy Laurence +41 22 917 9383 / [email protected]
In Nairobi
Seif Magango - +254 788 343 897 / [email protected]

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