From Burden of Peace
The documentary ‘Burden of Peace' tells the impressive story of Claudia Paz y Paz, the first woman to lead the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Guatemala. The country that has been ravaged for years by a devastating civil war, in which nearly 200,000 Mayan Indians were systematically massacred, is today one of the most violent countries in the world. Claudia starts a frontal attack against corruption, drug gangs and impunity and does what everyone had hitherto held to be impossible: she arrests former dictator Efraín Rios Montt on charges of genocide. His conviction becomes the first conviction for genocide in a national court in the world history.
Since her first year in office, Claudia gave acces to filmmakers of Framewerk, Joey Boink and Sander Wirken. It resulted in an intimate glimpse into the life of a woman who wants to change her country and therefore brings immense sacrifices. The documentary is scheduled for release during the Movies that Matter Film Festival, March 2015, The Hague.
I try to be optimistic that Guatemala will be able to overcome the loss of Claudia Paz y Paz and Yasmin Barrios as advocates for justice. That optimism will be tested once with the question as to whether to extend CICIG's mandate and the outcome of the 2015 national election.
As I have said before, I am in favor of extending CICIG's mandate. I also understand that CICIG has been in Guatemala for nearly a decade and at some point Guatemala's judicial institutions are going to have to stand on their own. I don't think that they are there yet.
However, is that what President Otto Perez Molina is calling for? The country's judicial institutions must now stand on their own and reduce their dependency on outside forces. Or has President Perez Molina given any indication that he simply wants an alternative to CICIG from the international community? My understanding is that it is the former but I am wondering if there is any discussion of the latter.