Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has rejected three challenges by the executive branch on its resolution allowing the entry of Ivan Velasquez, head of the United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), into the country.
The Court rejected two requests for annulment by the Interior Ministry and the Defense Ministry and issued a new clarification on its initial resolution ordering the government to allow Velasquez’s entry.
In response to the two ministries, Guatemala’s highest court argued they were not concerned parties and reiterated they have to fulfill the court’s orders for president Jimmy Morales, interior minister Enrique Dagenhart, and the director of the national civil police to abstain from ordering any measure to prevent Velasquez from entering the country.
Despite the court’s ruling Velasquez has been unable to enter the country.
As the executive and the Constitutional Court continue the institutional conflict that arose from president Morales’ attempt to ban the CICIG and its chief, social movements and human rights groups in Guatemala continue organizing protests against corruption and impunity, in support of CICIG and demanding the president to step down.
Morales is currently being investigated by Congress for alleged illegal financial contributions during his 2015 presidential campaign. The request for this investigation was submitted by Velasquez and the General Attorney’s Office.
According to the investigations, in 2015, when Morales was a presidential candidate and secretary general of the conservative National Convergence Front party, he received over US$1 million in unreported campaign contributions, breaking the regulations put in place by the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE).
Stripping Morales of his immunity is a difficult task since it requires the support of two-thirds of Guatemala's Congress.
This is Morales’ second attempt to dismiss Velasquez. In 2017, after the CICIG implicated Morales' brother and son in cases of corruption, Morales tried to expel him from the country but was unable to do so after a Constitutional Court ruling.
According to the government, the CICIG has become a threat to peace in Guatemala. Guatemalans who support the CICIG's work against corruption argue Morales is acting out of self-interest to guarantee impunity in the country.