The United Nations is urging Guatemala to transfer the responsibilities of the dissembled International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) to national institutions without altering its power.
"We are concerned that the decision not to renew CICIG's mandate, backed by the UN, represents a significant setback in the work still needed to investigate, prosecute and dismantle the criminal networks that continue to operate in Guatemala," said Liz Throssell, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
President Jimmy Morales revealed his decision to forego CICIG members’ visa renewals Friday after Congress announced its plans discuss the removal of the president’s immunity in order to pursue investigate corruption allegations.
The U.N. spokesperson reminded state officials of the long relationship shared between the CICIG and the judicial system when, for a decade, the pair worked “hand in hand” with the judicial system to combat impunity and corruption.
"We urge the government to ensure that the announced transfer of CICG powers to national institutions does not result in the weakening of current or future corruption investigations," Throssell said.
The international organization also warned that mounting threats and interrogations of human rights defenders by police officers borders on intimidation.
Last week, the left-wing Convergencia party slammed the decision, accusing Morales of trying "to guarantee impunity and corruption within the state."
The Winaq political movement, founded by the 1992 Nobel peace prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, condemned Morales’ use of the country’s armed forces to deliver his announcement Friday. For Winaq, Morales' decision goes against "national interests, democracy, justice, and the rule of law."
Despite Morales’ attempts to shut out the international rights group, Throssell said the U.N. will be closely monitoring the state’s behavior to ensure the people’s rights are respected.