Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Sunday urged [report] Guatemalan courts to end unjustifiable delays in high-profile criminal cases.
For the past decade, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) [official website], in partnership with the Attorney General’s office, have helped in the arrest and prosecution of powerful criminals and corrupt officials who were once deemed untouchable. HRW alleges these proceedings have been stymied by procedural hurdles.
A close examination of the judicial proceedings, as well as interviews with judges, prosecutors, lawyers and CICIG investigators, revealed a consistent pattern in which defense lawyers are easily able to trigger prolonged delays in criminal proceedings by filing repeated-and often unfounded-motions challenging court rulings or seeking the recusal of judges hearing their cases. These motions tend to cause unreasonable delays that are then greatly compounded by the slowness with which courts react to their filing and then to their eventual resolution.