Empowering human rights defenders

CEJIL expresses its regret over the decision made by the Constitutional Court of Guatemala on the processes of judicial elections

CEJIL regrets the decision made by Guatemala's Constitutional Court validating the election of judges for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, despite a clear breach of domestic legislation and international standards conducted by both by the nominating committees and the Congress on these processes. This decision will affect the ability Guatemala's citizen's to access justice and determine the sutability of those imparting it.

Tue, 11/25/2014

San José, Costa Rica November 25th, 2014- The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), expresses its opposition to the decision made by the Guatemalan Constitutional Court (CC) of validating the election of judges for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, despite a clear breach of domestic legislation and international standards conducted by both by the nominating committees and the Congress on these processes.

The appointments had been temporarily suspended by the Court on October 9th. Many individuals and civil society groups alleged significant irregularities in the process, such as lack of adequate verification and evaluation of the merits and abilities of candidates, lack of transparency in some phases of the process, the existence of conflicts of interest in the appointments, among others.

Despite this, the Court did not discuss the merits of the arguments. It considered that the Congress had not committed any violation and failed to analyze the complaints weighed by the process followed in the nominating committees. Thus, the Constitutional Court ignored the recommendations and rulings issued by major international protection agencies such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the independence of judges, magistrates and lawyers, who had recently urged the authorities to respect judicial independence and, consequently, to review the appointments in accordance with the international obligations of the Guatemalan state.

On this issue, both the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I-A Court) and the IACHR, have pointed out that the proper process of nomination and selection of judicial officers constitutes one of the essential prerequisites for the guarantee of judicial independence. In turn, these bodies have emphasized that "if basic parameters of objectivity and fairness are not respected, it would be possible to design a system that allows a high degree of discretion in selecting the judicial personnel, under which the individuals selected would not necessarily be the most suitable."

"The decision of the Constitutional Court deepens the institutional crisis currently facing Guatemala. Validation of judicial elections without guaranteeing a choice based on merit seriously jeopardize the principle of separation of powers and affects the rule of law”, stated Marcia Aguiluz, CEJIL's Program Director for Central America and Mexico.

CEJIL regrets the decision of the Constitutional Court as it affects the access to justice for all Guatemalans by not ensuring judicial independence, implying that the people living in this country will have no certainty of capacity and suitability of persons providing justice.

At the same time, we respectfully ask all social sectors to speak out against this event and to join in observing the actions of the persons named and denouncing those who clash with the international obligations of the Guatemalan state. Finally, we ask the authorities to protect the various actors who have denounced irregularities in the process, to avoid suffering retaliation for those complaints.

CEJIL promotes dialogue on the implementation of decisions made within the Inter-American System

UPDATE: To watch the event live, please click on the following link http://ustre.am/1jpmn

From Monday November 24 to Tuesday November 25, 2014, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) will hold a seminar on the implementation off decisions made within the Inter-American System and the administration of justice: synergies , tensions and possibilities in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The event aims to create a space for reflection between different stakeholders vested in implementing the decisions made by the Commission and Inter-American Court on Human Rights (I-A Court), particularly measures related to obtaining justice.

Sun, 11/23/2014

San José , November 20, 2014- From Monday November 24 to Tuesday November 25, 2014, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) will hold a seminar on the implementation of decisions made by mechanisms within the Inter-American System and the administration of justice: synergies , tensions and possibilities in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The event aims to create a space for reflection between different stakeholders vested in implementing the decisions made by the Commission and Inter-American Court on Human Rights (I-A Court), particularly measures related to obtaining justice.

While states in the region have repeatedly expressed their appreciation for  decisions made by the Inter-American System, many challenges remain for achieving consistent compliance with all resolutions.

The meeting in San José will gather leading academics, jurists, human rights defenders, and members of the Commission and the I-A Court.

The conference will start on Monday 24 morning and the first plenary session will be available to the public via streaming via this link. You can also check the event schedule here.

Photo credits : Court HR

IACHR orders Guatemala to take protection measures on behalf of judge Claudia Escobar

On Wednesday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights notified the Center of Justice and International Law (CEJIL), who is representing judge Claudia Escobar, about the measures of protection granted to her and her family based on the immediate danger they face in Guatemala.

The Commission approved the measures based on two factors: the allegations made by the judge surrounding the irregularities in the electoral process and appointment of judges of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Appellate Court who correlate to high state authorities, as well as public statements made by state officials by communications media and other actors who are in opposition to Ms. Escobar.

Fri, 11/14/2014

On Wednesday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights notified the Center of Justice and International Law (CEJIL), who is representing judge Claudia Escobar, about the measures of protection granted to her and her family based on the immediate danger they face in Guatemala.

The Commission approved the measures based on two factors: the allegations made by the judge surrounding the irregularities in the electoral process and appointment of judges of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Appellate Court who correlate to high state authorities, as well as public statements made by state officials by communications media and other actors who are in opposition to Ms. Escobar.

Marcia Aguiluz, Director of the CEJIL Program for Central America and Mexico, stated: “in Guatemala, the operators of justice who act with integrity and honesty find themselves at serious risk as they are victims to acts of hostility and threats on behalf of sectors interested in perpetuating impunity. The request for precautionary measures by the IACHR reflects the concern of the international body for the situation they face and is a signal to the authorities to respect the integrity and judicial independence of those who administer justice.”

CEJIL offers workshop on human rights protections mechanisms in Río de Janeiro

From November 10 to November 11, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR), provided a workshop that deepened participants’ knowledge about the mechanisms of protection available to members of civil society  for responding to possible human rights abuses.

Tue, 11/11/2014

Members of civil society in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil participated in a two-day workshop organized by the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) on how to use international and regional systems of human rights protections.

From November 10 to November 11, CEJIL in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR), deepened participants’ knowledge about the mechanisms of defense available to members of civil society through the United Nations or as established by the American Convention of the Organization of American States for responding to possible human rights abuses.

CEJIL and the UNCHR aimed to provide a road map about the international options offered by the two systems. The workshop represented yet another step forward in the fight for the protection of human rights at both a regional and global level.

International and Regional Organizations Call for Guatemala to Reject Sanction of Judge Yassmin Barrios, Lead Judge in Guatemala’s Historic Genocide Trial

10 November 2014 – International and regional organizations call for Guatemala to respect judicial independence and reject the illegal sanction of Judge Yassmin Barrios. Guatemala’s constitutional court is now considering a challenge concerning the authority of the country’s lawyers’ association to sanction Judge Barrios for her actions as a presiding judge during the 2013 trial of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and his then head of intelligence Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez. More information

Mon, 11/10/2014

Foto Yassmin Barrios 10 November 2014 – International and regional organizations call for Guatemala to respect judicial independence and reject the illegal sanction of Judge Yassmin Barrios. Guatemala’s constitutional court is now considering a challenge concerning the authority of the country’s lawyers’ association to sanction Judge Barrios for her actions as a presiding judge during the 2013 trial of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and his then head of intelligence Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez.

Nine international organizations and organizations from Latin America – Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), Center for Legal and Social Studies (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales – CELS), the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC), International Platform Against Impunity in Guatemala (Plataforma Holondesa contra la Impunidad en Guatemala), and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) – call on Guatemala to reverse this sanction, and guarantee protections for the independence and impartiality of the Guatemalan judiciary. More information

Photo Credits: Todo Noticias

Groups denounce impunity and serious human rights violations in Mexico

Human rights organizations and members of civil society denounced the situation of impunity of human rights violations in Mexico in front of government representatives during the 153rd Ordinary Period of Sessions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

According to petitioners, 98% of crimes denounced by victims are not tried, resulting in a prevailing climate of impunity.  Of the 22,400 forced disappearances registered between 2006 and 2012, not one has been prosecuted. From 1977 to 2005, only six convictions have been filed at the federal level.

Tue, 11/04/2014

 

Washington D.C., October 30, 2014—Human rights organizations and members of civil society denounced the situation of impunity of human rights violations in Mexico in front of government representatives during the 153rd Ordinary Period of Sessions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
According to petitioners, 98% of crimes denounced by victims are not tried, resulting in a prevailing climate of impunity.  Of the 22,400 forced disappearances registered between 2006 and 2012, not one has been prosecuted. From 1977 to 2005, only six convictions have been filed at the federal level.
The Commission of Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the Committee Against Torture and Impunity (CCTI), the Citizens’ Commission of Human Rights of the Northeast (CCDH), and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) presented these facts to highlight a picture of nearly absolute impunity and inaction on behalf of the Mexican State to impart justice.
The hearing focused on the situation in the states of Guerrero, Chihuahua, Chiapas and Baja California.
CEDIMAC reported that in the state of Chihuahua, the institutions responsible for investigating and searching for missing girls and women, is usually unresponsive, late, and inexperienced, wasting time crucial to carrying out a timely investigation.
In the case of the State of Baja California, petitioners exposed the frequency and systematicity of the use of torture, which according to the Statute of Rome, labels it a crime against humanity. This led the FIDH, CMDPDH and CCDHNOR asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the alleged commission of crimes of this nature in the state between 2006 and 2012.
CEJIL concluded by expressing concern over the lack of access to justice and reparation for victims and the failure of the Mexican State to fulfill its international obligations on human rights, including several recommendations made by the Commission and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.
At the end of the session, attending organizations asked government representatives to authorize a visit by the IACHR and to establish a mechanism of accountability to ensure cases involving serious human rights violations are solved in order to demonstrate clear evidence of progress in the eradication of impunity in Mexico.
Commissioner Felipe González stated: "If the crimes of the past remain unpunished, it is a clear message that the same will happen in the future."
The Mexican government, for its part, presented formalities that did not directly respond to the information presented by participating organizations.

 

Washington D.C., October 30, 2014—Human rights organizations and members of civil society denounced the situation of impunity of human rights violations in Mexico in front of government representatives during the 153rd Ordinary Period of Sessions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

According to the Commission of Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the Committee Against Torture and Impunity (CCTI), the Citizens’ Commission of Human Rights of the Northeast (CCDH), and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), 98% of crimes denounced by victims are not tried, resulting in a prevailing climate of impunity.  Of the 22,400 forced disappearances registered between 2006 and 2012, not one has been prosecuted. From 1977 to 2005, only six convictions have been filed at the federal level.

The hearing focused on the situation in the states of Guerrero, Chihuahua, Chiapas and Baja California. Many of the facts presented by petitioners highlighted a picture of nearly absolute impunity and inaction on behalf of the Mexican State to impart justice.

CEDIMAC reported that in the state of Chihuahua, the institutions responsible for investigating and searching for missing girls and women, is usually unresponsive, late, and inexperienced, wasting time crucial to carrying out a timely investigation.

In the case of the State of Baja California, petitioners exposed the frequency and systematicity of the use of torture, which according to the Statute of Rome, labels it a crime against humanity. This led the FIDH, CMDPDH and CCDHNOR asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the alleged commission of crimes of this nature in the state between 2006 and 2012.

CEJIL concluded by expressing concern over the lack of access to justice and reparation for victims and the failure of the Mexican State to fulfill its international obligations on human rights, including several recommendations made by the Commission and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.

At the end of the session, attending organizations asked government representatives to authorize a visit by the IACHR and to establish a mechanism of accountability to ensure cases involving serious human rights violations are solved in order to demonstrate clear evidence of progress in the eradication of impunity in Mexico.

Commissioner Felipe González stated: "If the crimes of the past remain unpunished, it is a clear message that the same will happen in the future."

The Mexican government, for its part, presented formalities that did not directly respond to the information presented by participating organizations.

Fresh off the press: CEJIL’s position paper on “The Debates on the Role of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”

Through this publication, CEJIL share its analysis on the process of reflection that started through the OAS General Assembly to audit the Commission’s work between 2011 and 2014.

Wed, 10/29/2014

Through this publication, CEJIL share its analysis on the process of reflection that started through the OAS General Assembly to audit the Commission’s work between 2011 and 2014. The paper attempts to present a timeline of the process, key actors and their positions, results achieved and the challenges still faced by the IAHCR and the Court. We hope that this document will be able to contribute to future debates in favor of the protection and promotion of human rights in the Americas.

To read the publication in Spanish, click here.

CEJIL congratulates the Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos

It is with great joy and admiration that CEJIL congratulates the Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras)  for winning the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute on Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

As a result of their fight for equality, peace and justice within Central America and Mexico, IM-Defensoras are an inspiration to all of us. They have improved the lives of hundreds of Human Right defenders and also contributed to the eradication of taboos through dialog. It is an honor to support their work. http://tinylink.net/qtpg6

Sat, 10/18/2014

Fotografía Defensoras créditos Agencia CuadratínIt is with great joy and admiration that CEJIL congratulates the Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras)  for winning the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute on Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

As a result of their fight for equality, peace and justice within Central America and Mexico, IM-Defensoras are an inspiration to all of us. They have improved the lives of hundreds of Human Right defenders and also contributed to the eradication of taboos through dialog. It is an honor to support their work. http://tinylink.net/qtpg6

Photographic credits: Quadratin Press Agence

 

CEJIL condemns recent student deaths and disappearances in Guerrero, Mexico

Iguala, Guerrero Mexico October 2, 2014- In light of the violent events which took place on September 26 and 27 in Mexico’s state of Guerrero, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) asks that the safety of the missing students as well as the safety of their families and those advocating on their behalf be guaranteed as they move forward making claims with Mexican authorities. Specifically, we ask for the protection of members of the Center for Human Rights of Tlachinollan Mountain.

Tue, 10/07/2014

Manifestaciones por normalistas El País de España

San José, 7 de octubre de 2014.- In light of the violent events which took place on September 26 and 27 in Mexico’s state of Guerrero, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) asks that the safety of the missing students as well as the safety of their families and advocates is guaranteed by Mexican authorities throughout the investigation process. Specifically, we ask for the protection of members of the Center for Human Rights of Tlachinollan Mountain.

According to reports provided to CEJIL, policemen clashed with students’ en-route from Iguala to the state capital of Chilpancingo after completing a fundraiser for their school. Over the course of the next few days, violence escalated when unidentified gunmen opened fire on the students, killing three people and injuring six. Forty-three students were taken away in police vehicles and to date, were still missing.

Then, on October 4th, reports announced that Mexican law enforcement agents discovered 5 mass graves containing the remains of several students.

CEJIL urges authorities to correctly identify the bodies, to continue their search for the remaining students who are still missing, and to bring to justice those who committed this heinous atrocity. We ask the authorities to maintain constant contact with the families of the missing students to guarantee their right to access information and participation throughout the course of the investigation. The state must guarantee their rights to truth, justice, and redress.

Statement from Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of CEJIL

Washington, DC October 2, 2014- It is with great shock and sadness that we mourn the sudden loss of Juan Carlos Gualinga, Toribio Tapuy, Martha Aranda and Paúl Navarrete who died in a plane crash soon after takeoff from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku on the evening of October 1, 2014.

As we mourn their loss, we also hope for the healthy recovery of Hugo Medina and his two-year old daughter who were also on the plane.  Our most heartfelt condolences go out to their loved ones.

 

Thu, 10/02/2014

Washington, DC October 2, 2014- It is with great shock and sadness that we mourn the sudden loss of Juan Carlos Gualinga, Toribio Tapuy, Martha Aranda and Paúl Navarrete who died in a plane crash soon after takeoff from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku on the evening of October 1, 2014.

As we mourn their loss, we also hope for the healthy recovery of Hugo Medina and his two-year old daughter who were also on the plane.  Our most heartfelt condolences go out to their loved ones.

 

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