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HomeCentral AmericaGuatemalaGuatemala Files Criminal Complaint Against Controversial Top Prosecutor

Guatemala Files Criminal Complaint Against Controversial Top Prosecutor

The government of President Bernardo Arévalo filed a criminal complaint on Thursday for “breach of duties” against the controversial Guatemalan Attorney General, Consuelo Porras, who in 2023 launched a judicial crusade that jeopardized the presidential transition.

“On instructions from the President of the Republic, the Office of the Attorney General under my charge filed a criminal complaint today” against “the Attorney General” and a request to remove her immunity, announced Attorney General (State Attorney) Julio Saavedra, after filing the complaint with the Supreme Court.

“This complaint is generated by the refusal of the Attorney General to heed the summons issued by the President of the Republic for her to participate in the cabinet meeting on January 29,” he added.

At that meeting at the Presidential House, Porras left early arguing that the law prohibited her from participating in a cabinet meeting, as it infringed on the autonomy of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (prosecutor’s office).

However, Saavedra pointed out that the law of the Public Prosecutor’s Office obligates the attorney general to “heed the summons of the president.” “Refusing to participate in that cabinet meeting could fall within criminal conduct […] such as breach of duties,” he said.

Arévalo widely won the elections with the promise to fight corruption affecting the country, which set off alarms among the political-business elite that controlled Guatemala.

The international community attributes efforts by the prosecutor to try to remove Arévalo from the path with controversial investigations against him and his Semilla party, which was disqualified by the courts at the request of the prosecutor’s office, to this fear.

Sanctioned by US and EU

Arévalo does not have the legal authority to remove Porras from office but has publicly asked her to resign after accusing her of having orchestrated an attempted “coup d’état” with legal maneuvers to prevent him from assuming the presidency.

The prosecutor has been sanctioned by the United States since 2021, which considers her “corrupt” and “undemocratic.” The European Union also sanctioned her on February 2.

Washington and the European Union point to her for “undermining democracy” due to her controversial investigations and decisions, including one that considered the 2023 elections won by Arévalo “null and void.” The attorney general, whose term expires in 2026, has not commented on the complaint against her so far.

Saavedra explained that now the Supreme Court must “assess” the complaint and “order the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the implications of the attorney general’s refusal to actively participate in cabinet meetings.”

Porras, who refuses to leave office, invited Arévalo to a working meeting at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in early February, but he rejected the invitation and delegated it to Interior Minister Francisco Jiménez.

“This will be one of several actions that will be taken by the Executive against all those corrupt actors, all those actors that are against the rule of law,” said Juan Guerrero, Secretary General of the Presidency, who accompanied the attorney general to the Supreme Court.

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