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GSN MONDAY MAILER APRIL 14 2014

Posted by administrador on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 in News.

 MAILER IS LOOKING A BIT THIN, SO SEND ME ANY NEWS OR NEW PUBS YOU MIGHT HAVE COMING OUT

  
1.       NEW VOLUME ON LAND DISTRIBUTION, POVERTY AND HUNGER FROM CONGCOOP
2.       VERY IMPORTANT PUBLIC LETTER NEEDS SIGNATURES OF LAW SCHOOL FACULTY (deadline is today!!!!!!)
 


1.       NEW VOLUME ON THE ENVIRONMENT, POVERTY AND HUNGER FROM CONGCOOP
 
Estimado Thomas y amigos y amigas de la Guatemala Scholars Networs
Queremos compartir con ustedes el trabajo recién publicado por CONGCOOP:
“LA TIERRA: DIMENSIÓN NO ABORDADA EN EL COMBATE DEL HAMBRE Y LA POBREZA”
http://www.congcoop.org.gt/images/LIBRO_CONGECOOP.pdf
 

“La economía campesina es una forma de producción no capitalista, en la que, después  de deducir los costos de producción, no es posible determinar la retribución respectiva  de los factores: capital, trabajo, tierra. Es decir, no existe allí, ganancia, salario ni  renta”
Alexander Chayanov. Chayanov y la dinámica de la economía campesina. México:  Ediciones Siglo XXI. 1999.
Humberto Ak’abal


 
2.       VERY IMPORTANT PUBLIC LETTER NEEDS SIGNATURES OF LAW SCHOOL FACULTY (deadline is today!!!!!!)
 
There is an effort underway, led by OSJI, to pull together at rapid speed a letter from deans and senior faculty calling for transparency and integrity in the nomination process of the next Attorney General. This was recommended given the outsized role that deans play in the nominating processes, and particularly the nominating processes for attorney general.
 
The deadline listed below is April 11, but it will be extended to Monday at the latest, so please sign right away if you can! Signatures received later are still valuable and will be included on an additional expanded list. 
 
The appeal is below, background is further down, and even further is the letter in English and Spanish.
 
Many thanks,
 
Kelsey Alford-Jones
Executive Director
Guatemala Human Rights Commission
 
Subject: an urgent appeal–international dean and faculty letter re Guatemala
 
Dear ___
I’m writing to ask whether you might be willing to sign, and ask your dean and other faculty to sign, a letter of support for transparency and integrity in the nomination of the next Attorney General of Guatemala.
We have organized this effort quickly at the request of partners in Guatemala who think that letters from law school deans in particular, and also senior faculty, could indeed make a significant contribution if sent as soon as possible. This is because law school deans make up virtually all of the members of the nominating commission for a very contested race for the Attorney General.
Twenty years after the end of a brutal armed conflict, Guatemala has finally taken important steps to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and tackle impunity. The upcoming justice sector transitions threaten these tremendous recent gains, as detailed below.
 
Apologies that the time frame is tight. The decision about the Attorney General will be made by the end of this month. Related selection processes for all of the country’s senior judges follow soon after.
 
Below is:
·         background information,
·         the draft letter to Guatemalan deans (in English and Spanish), and

Please let me know if you would be willing to add your name to the list of signatories.  We must hear from you by April 11 in order to be able to include you in the letter that we will send to members of the Commission, other influential persons, and the media in Guatemala. We would welcome your targeted outreach to other deans and senior faculty who my be interested to join this initiative. 

Please do not hesitate to let me know if I can provide any further information.
All the very best,
***

BACKGROUND:

Guatemala’s justice sector challenges include high levels of impunity, entrenched parallel power structures and limited resources. The country has struggled to address the high levels of violence and organized crime and gang activity of the present, as well as to prosecute perpetrators of past crimes committed during the country’s violent 36-year internal armed conflict—a conflict in which approximately 200,000 people were killed or subjected to forced disappearance.

Guatemala’s pioneering attorney general, Claudia Paz y Paz, has proven to be a bright spot in a bleak landscape. Under her leadership, the Public Ministry, working with the Interior Ministry and a unique and UN-mandated international commission against impunity (CICIG), has succeeded in recent years in achieving a 30% reduction in impunity in Guatemala, and strengthened and increased the independence of justice sector institutions. Paz y Paz also made unprecedented advances in previously stalled transitional justice processes, including last year’s unprecedented genocide trial for former dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt. These advances were also facilitated by the creation of special high risk courts with extra resources and protection, and a focus on the more complex cases.

This month is crucial for Guatemala’s justice sector, as there are elections for the Attorney General, and in the coming months for all of the judges of the Supreme Court and the appellate courts. 

Commissions comprised of deans of law schools, representatives of the country’s bar association, and judges will identify a shortlist of candidates for Attorney General and judgeships. The Constitution and the relevant law provides that the nominating commission for the Attorney General is composed of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, all of the country’s law school deans, and two senior members of the country’s bar association. The nominating commissions for senior judges are comprised of all the law school deans, other judges, and representatives of the country’s bar association. The President will select the Attorney General from that shortlist, and Congress will select the senior judges from among the relevant shortlists.
Put squarely: law school deans constitute the majority of the members of the commission that shortlist candidates for Attorney General, one-third of the members of the commissions that will select the Supreme Court and appellate court judges.

The process for the selection of judges and of the Attorney General has previously been targeted with smear campaigns, corrupt efforts to influence the processes, and given the role of law school deans in the processes, even the establishment of law schools largely in order to participate in the nominating processes. Based on past selection processes and increased political interest in the composition of the judiciary following last year’s genocide trial of a former dictator, there are risks of heightened political interference in the current selection processes.

Indeed, last month, in what appeared to be political reprisal for the critically important work of Guatemala’s Attorney General, the Constitutional Court acted to terminate prematurely her term—to conclude in early May rather than December. The Constitutional Court relied, without explanation, on so-called transitional provisions related to the initial enactment of the Constitution twenty years ago. There is now an aggressive campaign against the re-appointment of Paz y Paz for another term. Paz y Paz has received 32 challenges to her appointment where most other candidates have received fewer than two. Many of these challenges come from far right-wing forces.

Because of the significant import of law school deans in the nominating processes, and the importance of the upcoming justice sector transition in Guatemala, we are seeking the support of law school deans  and faculty in calling for: 
•    a transparent and merit-based process for selecting the next attorney general and Supreme Court and appellate court judges; 
•    the vetting of candidates for any conflict of interest; 
•    the guarantee that justice operators will be independent and free of reprisal; and
•    the continuation of critical institutional reforms of the Public Ministry and of the courts, including the creation of high impact courts, that have led to greater independence and effectiveness of both institutions.  

PROPOSED LETTER:

Dear Deans ____: [list of law school deans to be provided]

We are deans and senior faculty at university law schools in [_____]. We write as international colleagues with great interest and concern about the imminent justice sector transitions in Guatemala.

We recognize the critical importance of an independent judiciary and the freedom of judicial operators to act free from reprisal. We admire the important steps that Guatemala has taken in recent years to support the development of a public prosecutor’s office which holds all actors accountable; and a judicial system which is just, fair, impartial and protective of fundamental rights. 

Emerging from decades of impunity, much more remains to be done. 

We understand that law school deans have a unique role in the nominating commissions to select your country’s attorney general and Supreme Court and appellate court judges. Therefore, we write to support efforts for:

•    a transparent and merit-based process for selecting the next attorney general and Supreme Court and appellate court judges; 
•    the vetting of candidates for any conflict of interest; 
•    the guarantee that justice operators will be independent and free of reprisal; and
•    the continuation of critical institutional reforms of the Public Ministry and of the courts, including the creation of high impact courts, that have led to greater independence and effectiveness of both institutions.  

Very sincerely,

[To include full list of deans and professors]
 
Queridísimos Decanos:
Somos decanos y profesores superiores de universidades de derecho en ____. Les escribimos como colegas internacionales con gran interés y preocupación en las transiciones inminentes en sector judicial en Guatemala.
Nosotros reconocemos la importancia crítica de un poder judicial independiente y de la libertad de operadores judiciales de actuar libres de represalia. Admiramos los pasos importantes que Guatemala ha tomado en los años recientes para apoyar el desarrollo de una oficina de fiscal general que asigne responsabilidad a todos los actores; y de un sistema judicial que sea justo, equitativo, imparcial y protector de los derechos fundamentales.
Emergiendo de décadas de impunidad, mucho más queda por hacer.
Nosotros entendemos que los decanos de las facultades de derecho tienen un rol único en la comisión de nominación para seleccionar al fiscal general y los jueces de la Corte Suprema y cortes de apelación de su país. Por lo tanto, les escribimos para apoyar los esfuerzos en:

  1. Un proceso transparente y basado en méritos para la selección de fiscal general y jueces de la Corte Suprema y cortes de apelación;
  2. La investigación de cualquier conflicto de interés en los candidatos;
  3. La garantía de que los operadores de justicia serán independientes y estarán libres de represalia; y
  4. La continuación de reformas institucionales críticas en el Ministerio Público y en las cortes, incluyendo la creación de cortes de alto impacto, las cuales han conducido a mayor independencia y efectividad en ambas instituciones

Muy sinceramente,
 


 
Thomas A. Offit Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
Baylor University
(254) 710-6226 



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