GUATEMALA CITY – The Constitutional Court of Guatemala ruled on Tuesday against the Guatemalan President’s order to expel the head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), an anti-corruption body appointed by the United Nations.
Guatemalan Chief Human Rights Attorney Jordan Rodas sought protection for CICIG Chief Ivan Velasquez, after President Jimmy Morales Sunday declared Velasquez persona non grata and ordered his dismissal from the country.
Morales said that Velazquez interfered in internal affairs and sought his removal citing the presidential power stated in article 183 of the Guatemalan Constitution in receiving and withdrawing diplomatic representatives in Guatemala.
The Constitutional Court definitively suspended the president’s order on the grounds that article 183 was not applicable to the president’s decision, apart from failing to comply with article 182 requiring the president to seek approval from his ministers before issuing such order.
Article 12 of the 2007 Agreement to Establish the CICIG also advises that the government of Guatemala must reach an agreement with the United Nations before removing its commissioner.
Rodas, who sought protection for Velasques, said that the case is “resolved in accordance with the law,” which “re-establishes constitutional order” in the country and helps “restore harmony and peace.”
Morales’ expulsion order came shortly after the Prosecutor’s Office and the CICIG said they would launch a probe into the allegedly illicit funding of Morales’ presidential campaign in 2015.
The order also came just a few days before the president’s son and brother, Jose Manuel and Sammy Morales, would be tried in court on Wednesday for alleged fraud.
The president’s decision to expel Velasquez triggered street protests and led to the resignations of several high-ranking officials in the country.