Guatemala informed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday, January 7, that it would terminate the mandate of joint UN-Guatemala anti-corruption task force on Tuesday, January 8, nine months earlier than was expected. President Jimmy Morales' previous announcement that he would not renew the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), set to expire in September 2019, sparked widespread student-led protests in Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango and other cities. Similar protests are likely in the coming days. Localized transportation and business disruptions are possible in the vicinity of any protests, along with a heightened security presence.
The CICIG was formed in 2006 when the UN and Guatemala signed an agreement to establish an independent, international body that would investigate and charge serious crime in the country. The CICIG was successful in prosecuting high-profile cases, including extrajudicial killings, drug trafficking, fraud, and a government conspiracy and corruption scandal that involved then-President Otto Pérez Molina and Vice President Roxana Baldetti. The investigation resulted in their resignations and arrest.
The CICIG also sought to charge President Jimmy Morales and his family members with illegal campaign financing and graft. Anti-corruption protests began in Guatemala on September 1, 2018, following an announcement by Morales to not renew the CICIG mandate set to expire in September 2019.
Individuals in Guatemala are advised to monitor the situation, avoid public demonstrations as a precaution, and anticipate protest, transportation and business disruptions, and a heightened security presence.
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