The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) recently received a €4m boost from the European Union (EU) when the EU and the United Nations in Guatemala signed a cooperation agreement worth €4m or 44 million Guatemalan Quetzales to support the work of the CICIG.

The CICIG was established in 2007 as the result of an agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Guatemala, and has had its mandate renewed every two years since. However, the Guatemalan president, Otto Peréz Molina, announced in October 2013 that the CICIG’s mandate would not be renewed beyond its current term, and that work would be transferred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the National Civil Police, when its mandate expired in 2015.

With a score of 29/100 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (with 0 as ‘highly corrupt’ and 100 as ‘very clean’), Guatemala is a country which still suffers a high level of impunity – approximately 70%, according to figures from the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

In August 2013, a former head of Criminal Investigation of the National Civil Police was sentenced to 33 years in prison for forming part of a group that executed 10 prisoners from the Pavón and El Infiernito prisons in 2005 and 2006. In the Pavón case, the court established that then government officials were present at the killings. The CICIG helped expose the network of high-ranking security officials involved in the wider activities of drug-trafficking, money-laundering, kidnapping and extortion that surrounded both cases.

The CICIG has also helped develop a witness protection program, and trained prosecutors in building cases from telephone records and taped conversations – vital in light of new legislation it pushed through Congress to set up a framework for legal wiretapping.