Posted: Sunday, August 27, 2017. 5:44 p.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced today that he is expelling the head of the United Nations Anti Corruption Commission, Ivan Velasquez. Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala, (CICIG) is an international body responsible with investigating and prosecuting serious crimes involving high ranking government officials in Guatemala.
According to a report from ABC News, the order was blocked by Guatemalan court. In the capital of the country, protests erupted to decry the order and Morales is being criticized heavily for the decision.
Velasquez heads the commission that is currently investigating Morales’ campaign financing.
Morales this morning posted a video to his government’s twitter page where he declared Valesquez “non grata” and ordered him to leave Guatemala immediately. Morales also announced that he was firing Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, Carlos Raul Morales for failing to carry out his orders.
The commission has been instrumental in bringing down corrupt parliamentarians and root out corruption in the country. The delegation comprises of foreign experts and has worked with top Guatemalan prosecutors. In 2015, former President Otto Perez Molina was forced to resign and remains in prison.
After Morales posted the video, the head of Guatemala’s constitutional court had already issued a temporary injunction to block the order. The court will now analyse the case.
Around midday, Morales posted another video stressing his decision to expel Velasquez. According to Morales, Velasquez has overstepped his authority.
On Friday, one of Guatemala’s chief prosecutor announced that she was recommending to the Supreme Court to strip Morales of his immunity from prosecution in order to investigate financing of his 2015 campaign. This was because according to her, Morales had failed to account for more than $800,000 in campaign financed and had hidden his own party’s accounts.
According to ABC, the embassies of international donor countries that support the U.N. commission — United States, Germany, Canada, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland as well as the European Union — issued a joint statement regretting Morales’ decision.
In their release, the countries stated that the commission “has played a vital role in the fight against impunity and corruption that undermine security and prosperity in Guatemala. The decision to expel Commissioner Ivan Velasquez harms the ability of CICIG to achieve its mandate,” the statement said.
A ranking member of the United States House of Foreign Affairs Committee issued a statement also expressing disappointment in Morales’ decision and stated that the U.S. government would examine the future of its foreign assistance to Guatemala.
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