Claudia Paz y Paz is a Guatemalan magistrate and human rights defender. Expert in criminal law, she is known for her work in the fight against impunity, corruption and human rights violation.
She was the first woman to hold the position of Attorney General in Guatemala, she worked with the Inter-American Court of Human rights and she founded an organisation specialised in human rights, the Institute of Comparative Criminal Studies of Guatemala. This institute aims to protect the rights of persons who find themselves discriminated and marginalised during criminal proceedings.
Her action against impunity
During her mandate as Attorney General, she worked in order for the perpetrators of human rights violations to be recognised as responsible and prosecuted for their crimes.
Claudia Paz y Paz has played an active role in the indictment of the former Guatemala’s Head of State, Efrain Rios Montt for genocide and crimes against humanity.
She also condemned various Guatemalan soldiers for the massacre of Dos Erres in 1982 where 201 people were killed.
Her commitment to human rights and her various actions against impunity have made of Claudia Paz y Paz a recurrent target of reprisals. She was forced to leave her office prematurely by decision of the Constitutional Court of Guatemala.
In a country that has one of the highest homicide rates of the world, the drug cartels and corrupted politicians continue to use violence and their influence to terrorize the population and hamper the efforts of human rights defenders to protect and enforce human rights.
Documents and statements
To learn more about the situation of human rights in Guatemala, read the press release of the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for human rights, Flavia Pansieri, after her official visit in the country in 2014 (only available in English).