transforming justice in guatemala

Claudia Paz y Paz was the first woman attorney general in Guatemala, a position she was appointed to in December 2010 and held until May 2014. In her new book, Transforming Justice in Guatemala: Strategies and Challenges Investigating Violent Deaths, Dr. Paz y Paz recounts her efforts as Attorney General to transform the justice system and reduce homicide rates. The book is available in English and Spanish.

Dr. Paz y Paz’ story shows that it is possible to take on organized crime with absolute respect for the rule of law. There are fully legal measures that can and should be implemented to increase the efficacy of the justice system and reduce levels of violence.

The book is structured in three chapters. The first describes the criminal justice reform efforts in Guatemala and the institutional transformations that began with the Peace Accords.  The second chapter describes the changes in the Attorney General’s Office, the implementation of a new model of prosecutorial management, and of a new methodology for criminal investigation, strategic prosecution. The third chapter analyzes trends in homicides in Guatemala from 2001 to 2015 to determine whether the reduction in homicides that occurred as of 2010 was related to the changes implemented in the system of criminal investigation.