N║ 17/01



The IACHR expresses concern for the safety of the investigator
in the Gerardi case



The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has learned that on Sunday, July 22, Leopoldo Zeissig, special investigator in the office of the public prosecutor, who investigated and secured the conviction of those responsible for the murder of Monsignor Juan JosÚ Gerardi, irrevocably resigned from his post and left Guatemala with his family in the face of grave death threats.


In response to these developments, the IACHR wishes to express its profound concern for the safety of judicial staff and witnesses who have participated in the criminal proceedings stemming from the extrajudicial execution of Bishop Juan JosÚ Gerardi, and to reaffirm that the state must take the necessary measures to identify and prosecute those responsible.


The IACHR is especially worried by this new development, which has arisen in a context of harassment, threats, attacks, and murder directed at human rights defenders, judges, investigators, witnesses, and others committed to fighting impunity. The IACHR hopes that the state will take the necessary measures to guarantee their personal safety and fully abide by its international obligations in this area.




Washington, D.C., July 31, 2001