IN OTHER WORDS: Dead wrong
Guatemala’s vicious 36-year civil war ended a decade ago. Unfortunately, the bloodshed and rampant impunity have not. More than 5,000 murders are reported each year. Many are committed by the same groups — both left and right — that terrorised the country during the war but that now have gotten into organised crime, including drug and human trafficking. Only a tiny fraction of these murders are ever investigated. Even fewer are brought to trial. At the request of Guatemala’s government, the UN proposed creating a commission of experts to help investigate and prosecute these crimes.
The Guatemalan congress is expected to vote today on whether to accept the UN’s help. Unfortunately one powerful party, the Guatemalan Republican Front, or FRG — the party of the former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt — is fiercely opposed and looks as if it can muster the votes to block passage. The proposed commission would, most importantly, train police investigators and act as an auxiliary prosecutor, helping Guatemala’s public prosecutors. The FRG claims that bringing in the UN commission would violate Guatemala’s sovereignty. But the country’s constitutional court has already ruled that it would not. This raises the question: Who is FRG trying to protect? Obviously, not Guatemala’s citizens. — The New York Times