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US Congress introduces legislation to sanction Guatemalans facilitating corruption

Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019. 7:42 pm CST.

BBN Staff: The United States Congress has introduced the  “Guatemala Rule of Law Accountability Act,” which requires President Donald Trump to pursue sanctions against Guatemalan individuals, public officials or private
citizens, who have committed or facilitated corruption-related crimes.

If the Bill is passed, regular citizens and or public officials would face financial or travel sanctions as outlined by the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, no later than 90 days after its enactment.

The sanctions would fall on persons who have knowingly committed or facilitated crimes of corruption, money laundering, narcotrafficking; obstructing investigations or prosecutions of these cases; misusing U.S. donated equipment; disobeying rulings made by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court; or interfering with the work of U.S. agencies or institutions or entities that receive funds from the United States, including the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG, by its Spanish initials).

The bill comes after Guatemala’s unilateral decision to terminate the mandate of the CICIG, an entity which was backed by the United Nations for investigating serious crimes in Guatemala. At the time of the termination, several of the family members of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was being investigated.

The passage of the Act could have far-reaching implications between the two countries, who have enjoyed a long history of cordial relations. The Bill is gaining momentum in Congress, with 28 members already giving their support.  


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