International Anti-Impunity Missions in Guatemala and Honduras: What Lessons for El Salvador?
24 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2019 Last revised: 15 Mar 2020
Date Written: June 2019
In February 2019, Nayib Bukele was elected president of El Salvador. One prominent pledge he had made during the campaign was the formation of an international commission that would assist in the fight against corruption, linked to the United Nations (UN) and/or the Organization of American States (OAS). The inspiration for this commission was the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which has helped the Guatemalan Attorney General’s office identify 60 criminal networks and prosecute over 100 cases resulting in more than 300 convictions since its creation in 2007. It was celebrated as a success after its investigations led to corruption-related indictments of the then-President Otto Pérez Molina and the then-vice president.
Bukele did not release many details of the proposal before the election, and had designated his vice-presidential candidate, Félix Ulloa, to oversee the initiative. Campaign staff indicated they were seeking to adapt the CICIG model, and also perhaps draw on the Organization of American States Mission in Support of the Fight Against Corruption in Honduras (MACCIH). Both these institutions were innovative attempts to reduce exclusionary governance by a restricted group of elites, to enhance democratic governance, and to model holding even the well-connected and powerful to account.
The purpose of this document is to highlight lessons from these two Central American experiences for those interested in establishing a comparable hybrid institution that combines an international mission with national capacities in combatting corruption and/or impunity.
Keywords: El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Central America, CICIG, MACCIH, impunity, corruption
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