Amending Guatemala ‘reconciliation law’ would lead to unjust amnesty, warns Bachelet

UNDP Guatemala/Fernanda Zelada Rosal After 36 years of waiting, in August 2018, relatives of victims of armed conflict in the Guatemalan village of Ixtupil, were finally able to receive the remains of their loved ones and conduct a dignified burial.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

A bid to give amnesty to all those found guilty of grave human rights crimes during Guatemala’s decades-long civil war, by amending the National Reconciliation Law, could represent a “drastic set-back” to the whole legal system and overall accountability, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the High Commissioner expressed her “serious concern” that the Guatemalan Congress had taken steps to approve an amendment to legislation that has been in force since the 1996 peace accords, which was crucial to ending 36 years of violent clashes between Government and mainly rural insurgents.

If adopted, the amendment will see dozens of people in jail for enforced disappearances, summary executions, sexual violence and torture, freed within 24 hours. Before the amendment can be adopted, Congress must approve it following three separate readings.

Ongoing investigations into abuse will also be halted, Ms Bachelet said. “This in effect means complete impunity for all those involved in some truly horrendous violations, including crimes against humanity,” she said, warning that such a move risked reopening “old wounds” and could “destroy victims’ trust in the State and its institutions”.

Some 200,000 people are estimated to have died during Guatemala’s civil war, according to the UN human rights office (OHCHR). In November, it welcomed the conviction of a former Guatemalan soldier involved in the infamous Dos Erres massacre of indigenous Maya villagers.

OHCHR said that the ruling against Santos López Alonso was “an important step” for transitional justice in Guatemala, although he was one of only six military personnel to have been convicted, amid the frequent use of injunctions to stall the trials of high-level officials.

“I am also deeply worried that if this amendment is approved, it may lead to retaliation against all those courageous victims, witnesses, judges, public prosecutors, lawyers and organizations who have been promoting justice for past crimes in Guatemala,” Bachelet said.

The UN rights chief highlighted that international standards establish limits regarding the adoption of amnesties for the most serious crimes, and pointed out that they are “incompatible with State obligations to prosecute grave violations of human rights.”

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Draghi’s negative interest rates help Eurozone’s cohesion

How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries

A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all

€5 billion of EU energy efficiency project money spent on “comfort”

2030 development agenda: Major breakthrough for world of work

UN chief saddened at news of death of former US President George H.W. Bush

It is me

Consumer protection: Deal on EU-wide rules for those sold faulty products

Blockchain is not a magic bullet for security. Can it be trusted?

Towards a climate-neutral Europe: EU invests over €10bn in innovative clean technologies

Draghi indirectly accuses Germany of using double standards in financial issues

UN court increases sentence of former Bosnian-Serb leader to life imprisonment

EU-US: A new transatlantic agenda for global change

More unemployment and lower wages to make European workers competitive?

UN chief applauds Bangladesh for ‘opening borders’ to Rohingya refugees in need

The gender gap of medicine in 2018

Turn toxic e-waste into a source of ‘decent work’, UN labour agency urges

Why Trump’s tariffs are good news for US garlic farmers

Lifting the lid on policy decisions across Africa

Homicide kills far more people than armed conflict, new UN study shows

10 things you – and your government – should know about competitiveness in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Why 2020 will see the birth of the ‘trust economy’

We must work together to build a new world order. This is how we can do it

Digital mental health is here – but how do we ensure its quality?

The collision of these 3 geographies is creating a new world order

Here’s why e-mobility must be at the heart of the green recovery

VAT: EU Member States still losing almost €150 billion in revenues according to new figures

Switzerland: prepare for population ageing to maintain high living standards

First seat projections for the next European Parliament

This NASA-inspired technology converts carbon dioxide into food. Here’s how

Our children’s career aspirations have nothing in common with the jobs of the future

Moves to create a Kosovo army have ‘deteriorated relations’ with Serbia: UN peacekeeping chief

EU adopts retaliative measures in response to US steel and aluminum tariffs

1 in 5 deaths globally caused by fossil fuel pollution, a new study reveals

Mental health: simple ideas that can make a difference

The technologies – and thoughtful collaborations – that can build resilience in the food system after COVID-19

European research priorities for 2021-2027 agreed with member states

Contribution of healthcare professionals towards the 2030 Global Health Agenda

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

UN committed to helping Haiti build better future, says Guterres, marking 10-year anniversary of devastating earthquake

10 months were not enough for the EU to save the environment but 2 days are

Syrian crisis is ‘clearest example’ of foreign investment in terrorism, Deputy Prime Minister says at UN

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths

“Only through energy policy we can trigger competitiveness”. The Sting live from #EBS2015: Energy Union – When will it happen?

‘Signs of hope’ toward a political settlement in Yemen, UN special envoy tells Security Council

EU leaders slammed on anti-tax evasion inaction and expensive energy

Ceasefire holds in Tripoli, but core problems remain, says UN Libya mission chief

Quality education an ‘essential pillar’ of a better future, says UN chief

Stateless Rohingya refugee children living in ‘untenable situation’, UNICEF chief

Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

The developing world must get ready to adapt its trade to climate change

Five cities short-listed to become the European Youth Capital 2017

Cambodia’s digital currency can show other central banks the way

Eurozone: Statistics don’t tell the whole story

We don’t know how autonomous vehicles will depreciate – and that’s a problem

4 key trends on how COVID has impacted women in business

Final turnout data for 2019 European elections announced

Investors have a role in securing our shared digital future

Parliament demands democratic scrutiny over national recovery efforts

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s