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Criminal Complexity: Marielos Monzón on the 1st International Congress on Judicial Independence and

Marielos Monzón, a journalist, activist and researcher, who moderated two out of the three panels at the 1st International Congress on Judicial Independence and Criminal Networks, wrote an editorial for Prensa Libre newspaper discussing the most important reflections and conclusions of the event.

In her article [in Spanish], Monzón highlights the contributions and participation of the Vortex Foundation Team.

The Complex Crimes The investigations and criminal prosecution against criminal structures in the cases of La Línea, Health Dealers, Phantom Public Positions and Co-optation of the State - involving those at the highest levels of the Executive, some of their ministers, Several heads of key institutions such as SAT [Guatemalan tax authority] or Social Security, congressional representatives, businessmen, bankers and trade unionists, and other figures linked to the judiciary, and law firms - made us understand that criminal networks have permeated almost All power spaces. A symbiosis has practically been established between State agents and criminal groups, which has resulted in State capture and co-optation. The phenomenon is not unique to Guatemala. In other countries there have been similar situations that required an enormous effort by prosecutors and judicial systems to dismantle these criminal macro-networks that generate corruption and impunity. One of the recurrent channels is the use of political parties to gain access to power and to develop their criminal strategy. Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Italy and, of course, Guatemala, perfectly exemplify how political structures assault the states and generate a complex criminal network that seeks political, economic and social legitimacy.

The case of Alberto Fujimori and Vladimiro Montesinos in Peru, or the "parapolitics" process in Colombia, are similar to what happened in our country [Guatemala] during the government of the Patriota Party and the previous ones. In the words of Luis Jorge Garay and Eduardo Salcedo, directors of the Vortex Foundation of Colombia, who dedicate to the investigation of complex macro-criminality, we face today a "Co-opted State Reconfiguration", in which state agents use their power and influence and are approached by criminal agents to achieve mutually beneficial interests.

José Ugaz, former Peruvian prosecutor and current Chair of Transparency International, refers to this phenomenon as the "great corruption", born of the nefarious dictatorship-corruption alliance and developed in weak democracies, such as ours. For Ugaz, today we face complex criminal networks and not corrupt officials and individuals acting in isolation. These and other reflections were presented at the 1st International Congress on Judicial Independence and Criminal Networks, organized by the Guatemalan Association of Judges for Integrity, which brought together justice operators and lawyers from Latin America for three days. One of the conclusions reached after hearing the speeches of an Italian anti-mafia prosecutor, a Peruvian anti-corruption prosecutor, two Colombian researchers on criminal networks, two Guatemalan judges and an Argentine human rights lawyer, is that we face a common reality: complex macro-criminality, and that this requires a new way of thinking and investigating criminal systems; the generation of new legal tools and strategies that allow us to "deal" with and disrupt these complex schemes of corruption and impunity; and the reform of our legal frameworks. But above all, it requires an active citizenship that does not lose hope and that continues to support the battle against impunity and corruption, and in that task we all have a role to play. Marielos Monzón. Click here to see the full article in Spanish, at "Prensa Libre", Guatemala

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