"Ten Questions with a CICIG Investigator"


Ten Questions with a CICIG Investigator
May 10th, 2011 Erin Siegal

These questions were part of an email interview with one of the CICIG legal analysts/ investigators who worked on CICIG’s 12/1/2010 “Report on Actors Involved in the Process of Illegal Adoptions in Guatemala.”

1. Why did CICIG hypothesize that there was organized crime in adoption from the beginning?

For CICIG, there were several facts that supported the initial hypothesis. The financial incentives, the amount of false documents, the authorities involved and the kidnapping networks were a part of international illegal adoption activities. In addition, the work with relevant sources from the justice system and civil society was crucial in order to collect relevant information. Up to now, CICIG has been able to develop its cases investigating both criminal networks and individual responsibilities.

2. What was the first adoption-related case that CICIG officially worked on with the Ministerio Público as complementary prosecutor?

The Rosalinda Rivera Case. [Editor's note: For background on the Rivera case, please see the links at the end of the interview]

3. Has CICIG’s relationship with the MP changed over time? How many adoption-related cases is CICIG involved with as complementary prosecutor?

The Ministerio Público (Public Prosecutor’s Office) is CICIG’s main counterpart in Guatemala. The relationship among both institutions has become stronger in both political and technical levels, particularly regarding cases involving human trafficking through illegal adoptions.

As complementary prosecutor, CICIG has been involved in three adoption-related cases, including a ‘pre trial’ (due to judges’ immunity) against a Judge of the Court of Children and Adolescents in Escuintla, chaired by Mario Fernando Peralta Castañeda.

CICIG has supported many other adoption related cases due to its relationship with MP, including all the pending cases of the working group. In these cases CICIG has acted more as a technical adviser.

In other cases, MP has asked for specific technical supports such as financial or analysis reports. The cases where CICIG is complementary prosecutor have been assigned to the special agency in charge of CICIG’s Cases (UEFAC) within the Ministerio Público.

4. Why did CICIG decide to do the adoption report?

By the beginning of 2009, there was a lot of concern about the approximately 900 cases that were not presented to the verification process. Although reportedly those children were missing, CICIG decided to create a database containing a record of every transitional case aiming to identify key information about the whereabouts of those children, the notaries in charge of the processes, caregivers, birth mothers, and public servers involved in those processes, among other relevant data.

5. How many months did it take to collect information for the report, when did it begin, and how many people were on the team to do research for the report?

It began on March 2009. It took about a year to collect all the information. It required various updates until November 2010. Two analysts and two data entry-digitizers [worked on the report].

6. What were the most difficult part about researching and publishing this report?

One of the most challenging tasks was the search of reliable information from public institutions particularly PGN. The process of collecting and contrasting information revealed a number of repeated and contradictory information that was finally purged after a long and complicated process where the analysis played a key role.

7. When the report was done being written, who reviewed it before it was released?

The head of the Analysis Unit, Head of Investigation Unit and other 4 senior lawyers from CICIG

8. Of the recommendations made in this report, have any been put into effect? Are any planned changes going to occur?

Yes, there is an action plan created to follow up every recommendation. Some of them have already been implemented, mostly the ones made to PGN. CICIG is still monitoring the implementation of recommendations

9. The report states that 25 notaries and 5 attorneys are under investigation by the MP—does CICIG have a current number?

Not a certain one, but the number has definitely increased.

10. On page 77 of the report, it says that “Mothers who were victims of deception, intimidation and threat to force them to give their children up for adoption and birth parents who have been deprived of their children through theft or kidnapping have a right to know what happened during the transition period.” Is the situation of mothers who may have been victimized before the transition different?

The information gathered by CICIG for the report was mainly about transitional cases. Every mother whose child was stolen has the right to know what happened.

Further reading about the Rosalinda Rivera case:
“Intervention in the Criminal Process” page, Case No. 01079-2008-05306, 7th Criminal Court, 4th Official, CICIG website (English)

“The CICIG is complainant in trafficking in persons Rosalinda Rivera, sister of deputy PP Gudy Rivera, accused of being part of a network of child traffickers,” English translation by PoundPup Legacy (original article, Spanish Siglo XXI article “La CICIG es querellante por trata de personas,” by Dalila Huitz, February 5, 2009)

“Funcionario municipal de San Antonio La Paz, vinculado a adopciones ilegales: falsificó documentos utilizados por hermana de diputado,” by Bryon Rolando Vásquez Diario de Centro América, October 29, 2008 (Spanish)

“Mujer acusada del robo de un menor va a prisión: Rosalinda Rivera afronta dos procesos por el mismo tema,” by K. Reyes, El Periódico, August 2, 2008 (Spanish)

Posted in Guatemala Tags: CICIG, court cases, criminal impunity, ministerio publico, reports, transition cases
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