On March 10, 2021, appointments to the Constitutional Court were complete. Five titular, or permanent, judges and five alternate judges comprise the court.
EXECUTIVE BODY President Alejandro Giammattei in Council of Ministers appointed:
- Leyla Lemus, Titular Magistrate → accused by the CICIG of obstructing justice for coordinating the departure from the country of the main suspect in the murder of Victor Rivera. In her position at the General Secretariat of the Presidency, where she has been investigated by the Attorney General’s Office for conspiring against the Board of Directors of the Guatemalan Social Security Institute (IGSS).
Details: In the third report of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Lemus, along with prosecutor Álvaro Matus, was accused of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, abuse of authority and breach of duties during the investigations of the case related to the murder of Venezuelan Víctor Rivera, who served as an advisor to the Ministry of the Interior. As Secretary General of the Presidency, Lemus has been questioned for the contracts that the IGSS maintains with the company Nipro Medical Corporation, which provides hemodialysis services. In the last two years, Nipro Medical Corporation has sold Q168.9 million to the Social Security and the MP.
Before taking office as Secretary General of the Presidency, Lemus had eight complaints against her for ideological falsehood, abuse of authority, theft of mobile terminal equipment, minor injuries, influence peddling and abandonment of office, but none of the accusations are still in force.
- Juan José Samayoa, Alternate Magistrate.
LEGISLATIVE BODY The plenary of deputies of the Congress appointed:
- Dina Ochoa, Titular Magistrate (Re-elected) → During her tenure as a titular judge on the Constitutional Court, Ochoa consistently departed from the majority, favoring actions to protect then-President Jimmy Morales, who was under investigation by CICIG. She opposed an appeal that would have allowed the Supreme Court to issue a new resolution on the removal of the immunity of Congressman Felipe Alejos, accused in the Trafficking of Influence case. She ruled in favor of the presidential candidacy of Zury Ríos, daughter of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt.
- Luis Rosales, Alternate Magistrate → He defended Efraín Ríos Montt in the trial for genocide in the Ixil area.
JUDICIAL BODY The plenary of magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice appointed:
- Roberto Molina Barreto, Titular Magistrate (Re-elected) → In 2019, he ran as vice president with Zury Ríos, presidential candidate of the Valor party, whose candidacy was invalidated by the CC. On November 10, the Guatemala Supreme Court elected Roberto Molina Barreto to the Constitutional Court (CC), replacing Judge Bonerge Mejía, who died of COVID-19 in September, as Network in Solidarity with Guatemala points out. In 2013, when Molina Barreto was also serving on the CC, he voted to overturn Ríos Montt’s genocide conviction.
- Walter Paulino Jiménez, Alternate Magistrate → He began as a Justice of the Peace in 1999 and since 2006 has presided over the Chimaltenango Sentencing Court, which heard the trial against Felipe Cusanero, convicted for forced disappearances, and against Fermín Solano, convicted of the Aguacate massacre.
Guatemalan Bar Association In a second round, the General Assembly of the Bar Association of Guatemala elected:
- Néster Vásquez Pimentel, Titular Magistrate → Is a member of the Supreme Court of Justice, appointed by Congress in 2014 by the PP-Lider alliance. His election to the Supreme Court, along with that of other candidates, was found by CICIG to have been tarnished with possible influence trafficking and illicit association. In addition, he is accused, along with others, rigging the nomination of candidates for the Appeals Chambers, according to FECI. During the press conference to explain the accusations, FECI officials did not rule out lawsuits against the judges of the CSJ. In 2019, Vasquez filed a criminal complaint against two prominet human rights defenders, Claudia Samayoa and Jose Manuel Martinez, who had presented a complaint against him and other Supreme Court justices, linked to the justices’ efforts to remove the immunity of several Constitutional Court judges, based on how the CC judges had ruled.
- Claudia Paniagua, Alternate Magistrate → She was a defender of those accused in corruption cases, such as former congresswoman Delia Bac and Eduardo Klestler, general manager of Televisiete and Radio Televisión de Guatemala, prosecuted in the Cooptación del Estado case. As a notary, she notarized the public deeds of a property belonging to the magistrate of the CC, Jorge Rosales Mirón. She is an advisor to several mayors with pre-trial proceedings.
USAC The Superior University Council of the University of San Carlos elected:
- Gloria Porras, Titular Magistrate (Relected) → Among her achievements, Porras is credited with modernizing the processes in the CC. She has been threatened with legal action because of her rulings on the Constitutional Court.
- Rony Eulalio López, Alternate Magistrate → Secretary General of the MP, appointed by the Attorney General, Consuelo Porras.
In this article you can read more data on the professional careers of the selected individuals: https://republica.gt/2021/03/10/conozca-quienes-son-los-magistrados-titulares-de-la-corte-de-constitucionalidad/