On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Francisco Dall’Anese Ruiz the new head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, known by its initials in Spanish as CICIG. Ruiz is a well-known advocate against corruption and, since 2003, he has served as attorney general in Costa Rica, where he has led major anti-corruption investigations against two former presidents and organized the passage of a milestone organized crime law.
For the first two and a half years of CICIG’s mandate, the commission was led by Carlos Castresana, but Castresana submitted his resignation in early June, citing frustration with the Colom administration and the appointment of an attorney general, Conrado Reyes, with alleged ties to organized crime.
The choice of a Central American for the post is significant, and reflects a growing sentiment—expressed most strongly by Costa Rica’s new president, Laura Chinchilla—that regional cooperation is needed in the fight against organized crime. While Reyes has already been removed from his post due to public outcry, Ruiz will face the repercussions of Castresana’s allegations of a government plot to discredit CICIG and the appointment of a new attorney general in Guatemala.
Impunity remains rampant. In 2009, according to Castresana, there were 6,451 killings in the country, of which only 230 cases were solved.