{"code":"25759","sect":"Central America","sect_slug":"central-america","hits":"831","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202109\/centroamerica\/25759","link_edit":"","name":"Who Controls Justice in Central America?","slug":"who-controls-justice-in-central-america-","info":"Central America, in Brief: Persecution of judges and prosecutors, expulsion of international anti-corruption monitors, and cooptation of courts have spread in the region.\u00a0 Iv\u00e1n Vel\u00e1squez, former head of Guatemala\u2019s UN-backed anti-corruption body CICIG, said in an interview with El Faro that the CICIG closure had a \u201ccascading effect.\u201d\u00a0 \u201cOne wonders what legal world we are in. This is Macondo,\u201d says a recently purged Salvadoran judge. Subscribe to our newsletter","mtag":"Newsletter","noun":{"html":"El Faro English","data":{"el-faro-english":{"sort":"","slug":"el-faro-english","path":"el_faro_english","name":"El Faro English","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"831","pict":{"cms-image-000036365-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36365","name":"cms-image-000036365.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036365.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036365.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036365-jpg","text":"","capt":""},"cms-image-000036437-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36437","name":"cms-image-000036437.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036437.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036437.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036437-jpg","text":"<p>Judge Jorge Guzm\u00e1n has overseen the trial of the alleged perpetrators of the El Mozote massacre. Guzm\u00e1n is one of the judges affected by the legislative reforms forcing all judges over 60 years of age, or with more than 30 years on the bench, into retirement. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EJudge Jorge Guzm\u00e1n has overseen the trial of the alleged perpetrators of the El Mozote massacre. Guzm\u00e1n is one of the judges affected by the legislative reforms forcing all judges over 60 years of age, or with more than 30 years on the bench, into retirement. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000036438-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"36438","name":"cms-image-000036438.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036438.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036438.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036438-jpg","text":"<p>Former CICIG commissioner Iv\u00e1n Vel\u00e1squez. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EFormer CICIG commissioner Iv\u00e1n Vel\u00e1squez. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":36438,"date":{"live":"2021\/09\/29"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2021","data_post_dateLive_MM":"09","data_post_dateLive_DD":"29","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EYesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Todd Robinson,\u00a0former Ambassador to Guatemala, as Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). Self-exiled in Washington, the recently fired anti-corruption prosecutor \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202107\/centroamerica\/25626\/Interview-with-a-Former-Prosecutor-en-Route-to-Exile-%E2%80%9CI-can-now-say-that-everything-Porras-has-done-is-shady%E2%80%9D.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003EJuan Francisco Sandoval\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E celebrated Robinson\u2019s new role by \u003Cstrong\u003Epublishing a photo of the two on Twitter\u003C\/strong\u003E.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ERobinson\u2019s appointment sends a message to the region\u2019s leaders given his record of challenging corrupt elites in Guatemala while ambassador, and completes the team leading the Biden administration\u2019s strategy in Central America, right when that strategy appears to be changing.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EA week ago, the U.S. State Department added Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras to the Engel List for \u201cobstruct[ing] investigations into acts of corruption,\u201d most notably \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202107\/centroamerica\/25626\/Interview-with-a-Former-Prosecutor-en-Route-to-Exile-%E2%80%9CI-can-now-say-that-everything-Porras-has-done-is-shady%E2%80%9D.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eby firing Sandoval\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E in July. Angel Arnoldo Pineda Avila, Porras\u2019 right hand, was also added to the list.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAfter Porras was added to the Engel List, Giammattei \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/drgiammattei\/status\/1440137401838362625\"\u003Etweeted\u003C\/a\u003E that she was accused \u201cwithout evidence\u201d and that adding her to the list \u201cviolated her human rights.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ECensuring Porras marks a change in tone after months of treating Guatemala as the last-resort ally in the region whose other leaders \u2014 Ortega, Hern\u00e1ndez and Bukele \u2014 are impossible partners. \u003Cstrong\u003EGestures like the visit of Vice President Kamala Harris in June were not enough\u003C\/strong\u003E to impress President Alejandro Giammattei, and U.S. faith in the Guatemalan government finally cracked when Porras fired Sandoval, who headed the Special Prosecutor\u2019s Office Against Impunity (FECI), a unit specialized in high-stakes corruption cases investigating the upper echelons of Guatemalan politics and business.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESandoval \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202107\/centroamerica\/25626\/Interview-with-a-Former-Prosecutor-en-Route-to-Exile-%E2%80%9CI-can-now-say-that-everything-Porras-has-done-is-shady%E2%80%9D.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eclaims\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E that his removal was because of his investigations into prominent officials. In September, he released scandalous FECI evidence to \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.nytimes.com\/2021\/09\/03\/world\/americas\/guatemala-president-bribe-giammattei.html\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003EThe New York Times\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E that \u003Cstrong\u003EGiammattei received bribes from Russian mining magnates\u003C\/strong\u003E for rights to coastal port access.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cThe corrupt think that the situation is going to be permanent\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn an interview with El Faro, former CICIG commissioner Iv\u00e1n Vel\u00e1squez said that Porras\u2019 unjustified firing of Sandoval sent a chilling message to the rest of the justice system: \u00a0\u201cIf they can do this to Juan Francisco, what can\u2019t they do to us?\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cI thought that after everything that happened between 2018 and 2019, the situation of the FECI would be very difficult, but I didn\u2019t think that the attorney general would \u003Cstrong\u003Eproceed to annihilate what gave it some recognition,\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E said Vel\u00e1squez, who was barred from returning to Guatemala in 2018 when the CICIG\u2019s investigations exposed corruption related to then-president Jimmy Morales.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=36438\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Former CICIG commissioner Iv\u00e1n Vel\u00e1squez. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EFormer CICIG commissioner Iv\u00e1n Vel\u00e1squez. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EPorras, who has been in her role since 2018, never supported the FECI and tried to dismantle it, said Vel\u00e1squez. She refused to close unsubstantiated complaints made against FECI prosecutors and has reassigned prosecutors whose investigations uncover corruption.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn response to Sandoval\u2019s firing, the U.S. \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.state.gov\/briefings\/department-press-briefing-july-27-2021\/\"\u003Eannounced\u003C\/a\u003E it was \u003Cstrong\u003Etemporarily halting aid and cooperation\u003C\/strong\u003E with the Public Prosecutor\u2019s Office. \u201cWe have lost confidence in the attorney general and their decision \u2013 and intention to cooperate with the U.S. Government and fight corruption in good faith,\u201d \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.state.gov\/briefings\/department-press-briefing-july-27-2021\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Esaid\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E a State Department spokesperson.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EPresident Giammattei \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/DrGiammattei\/status\/1420800811261743107?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1420800811261743107%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vozdeamerica.com%2Fa%2Fcentroamerica_eeuu-ayuda-guatemala-suspension-impacto-fiscalia%2F6075597.html\"\u003Ecalled\u003C\/a\u003E the decision \u201ccounterproductive\u201d to U.S. goals of fighting corruption and organized crime. Vel\u00e1squez admitted that U.S. support for the Public Prosecutor\u2019s Office has been key to expanding the institution\u2019s capacity to carry out investigations, especially in rural, remote areas.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBut the former CICIG commissioner believes that Porras \u003Cstrong\u003Eis acting with the support of bigger actors\u003C\/strong\u003E who want to protect themselves from prosecution and have assured her that her actions will not have consequences.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThe corrupt think that this situation is going to be permanent in Guatemala, and that it\u2019s going to be for their whole lives,\u201d Vel\u00e1squez said.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EL\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003Eight\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E at the end of the tunnel?\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOnly three years ago, Guatemala was a regional leader in anti-corruption prosecutions, thanks to the success of the CICIG. In its 13 years of sweeping corruption probes before it was dismantled in 2019, the CICIG revealed a customs fraud that then put former president Otto P\u00e9rez Molina behind bars and brought to light the deep links between some of the most powerful companies in Guatemala and corrupt networks, which endured from one government to the next.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cIt was a big step,\u201d \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202109\/centroamerica\/25750\/Iv%C3%A1n-Vel%C3%A1squez-%E2%80%9CLos-corruptos-creen-que-esta-situaci%C3%B3n-va-a-ser-permanente-en-Guatemala%E2%80%9D.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ewrites\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E El Faro\u2019s Julie Lopez of the CICIG in her interview with Vel\u00e1squez, \u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cbut it was also the beginning of the end.\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAfter CICIG investigations set their sights on sitting president Jimmy Morales\u2019s brother in 2017, the administration revoked the visa of then-CICIG commissioner Vel\u00e1squez. In 2019, in exchange for signing an agreement to accept Central American asylum seekers in Guatemala, Morales \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202001\/centroamerica\/23961\/The-Quid-Pro-Quo-in-Guatemala-Trump-Wielding-in-Central-America-Same-Tactics-He-Used-in-Ukraine.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Egained the political allowance from the Trump administration\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E to expel the CICIG. Since then, the persecution of independent judges and investigators has increased.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/support.elfaro.net\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=1440&ImageHeight=380&ImageId=36365\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EJust as the CICIG\u2019s investigations set an example for the region, its closure also sent a message, said Vel\u00e1squez: \u201cIt produced a cascading effect: closure of the CICIG, MACCIH [in Honduras] is not renewed, and a year later it is decided that the CICIES [in El Salvador] was a government commission because it was not a commission in the style of MACCIH, and much less in the style of CICIG.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cIs there a light at the end of the tunnel?\u201d El Faro\u2019s Julie Lopez asked Vel\u00e1squez:\u00a0\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cI don\u2019t know how long the tunnel is, but I always maintain hope. We should all maintain hope,\u201d Vel\u00e1squez said. \u201cThere have been important actions from strong sectors of the country...There is a strong enemy that has control of the State. Everyone in favor of democracy, justice, the rule of law, should join the big national movement for the recovery of Guatemala.\u003Cstrong\u003E If citizens become pessimistic, if they lose hope, they surrender.\u003C\/strong\u003E And here what you cannot do is give up.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EEl Salvador\u2019s purge moves forward\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Bukele administration's attacks on judicial independence were one of the main reasons that thousands of people protested in El Salvador this past September 15. But this didn\u2019t stop the Supreme Court from\u003Cstrong\u003E illegally instating 98 judges on Sunday\u003C\/strong\u003E under a controversial judicial reform, which forces judges into retirement after the age of 60 or after 30 years of service and allows the Supreme Court to transfer judges without cause.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EA lower court in San Miguel ordered last week that the Supreme Court suspend the implementation of the law while awaiting a final ruling to determine whether the law is discriminatory. Yet the Supreme Court moved forward with naming replacements anyway.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThe court names and transfers judges without any constitutional authority to do so,\u201d judge Edgar Ochoa, who was forced into retirement, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.elsalvador.com\/noticias\/nacional\/el-salvador-un-macondo-exmagistrado-edgar-ochoa\/883391\/2021\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etold\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E daily newspaper El Diario de Hoy. \u201cOne wonders what legal world we are in. This is Macondo.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ELegislators who approved the law have argued that it will rid the justice system of corruption, but human rights groups insist that judges suspected of corruption should be removed through legal means that follow due process. Those same legislators, members of Bukele\u2019s Nuevas Ideas party, illegally appointed the five judges of the Supreme Court\u2019s Constitutional Chamber on May 1.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe State Department recently placed the five Justices on the Engel List, along with Guatemala\u2019s Porras. Other international bodies aren\u2019t buying Bukele\u2019s discourse of an anti-corruption crusade against previous governments either. On Monday, Interpol refused to comply with an international arrest warrant issued by El Salvador against former FMLN president Salvador S\u00e1nchez Cer\u00e9n and four other former FMLN officials because it determined that the cases are politically motivated.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe purge also had an impact on human rights cases. One of the judges \u003Cstrong\u003Epushed into retirement is Jorge Guzm\u00e1n\u003C\/strong\u003E, who for five years has presided over the case for the 1981 El Mozote massacre, where nearly 1,000 civilians, mainly women and children, were killed by the Salvadoran military. In an \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202109\/el_salvador\/25743\/Juez-de-El-Mozote-Est%C3%A1n-obligando-a-los-jueces-a-renunciar-bajo-un-chantaje.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Einterview\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E with El Faro, Guzm\u00e1n said he believes the reform is a way to \u201ccontrol the most emblematic cases [from the civil war period] through judges that are included to favor the aggressors, as is the position of the Presidency.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=36437\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Judge Jorge Guzm\u00e1n has overseen the trial of the alleged perpetrators of the El Mozote massacre. Guzm\u00e1n is one of the judges affected by the legislative reforms forcing all judges over 60 years of age, or with more than 30 years on the bench, into retirement. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EJudge Jorge Guzm\u00e1n has overseen the trial of the alleged perpetrators of the El Mozote massacre. Guzm\u00e1n is one of the judges affected by the legislative reforms forcing all judges over 60 years of age, or with more than 30 years on the bench, into retirement. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EUnder public pressure, Bukele said that Guzm\u00e1n would not be required to leave his position even though he is over 60 years old, but Guzm\u00e1n refused to take a deal from the administration. Supreme Court president \u00d3scar L\u00f3pez Jerez said on Monday that a substitute had been already appointed but hours later backtracked and invited the judge to stay one more time.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EGuzm\u00e1n turned down the offer. \u201cIf I submit, I am endorsing all the illegalities that have been committed,\u201d he said. \u201cAnd that I will never do.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe judge's stance has received praise but also dissension. He faces the dilemma of a lifetime. Without him, the El Mozote case will likely have to start over with a new judge, with many of the key witnesses now deceased. The victims, many in their 80s and 90s, risk being left without justice after 40 years of waiting.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThanks for reading.\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/elfaro.us19.list-manage.com\/track\/click?u=a822abdb775cca5db840e11e5&id=bc463bff37&e=3e101df639&utm_source=DB+El+Faro_English&utm_campaign=50f2137b20-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_22_01_08_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3ec9190c89-50f2137b20-\"\u003E \u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003EReach out to us on Twitter\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E to say hello or let us know what you'd like us to cover. And if you've gained from our work, pass it along.\u003C\/p\u003E"}