Judges for Justice in Guatemala

Meet four high-profile judges from Guatemala and listen to their struggle for the rule of law and justice: Yassmin Barrios, Haraldo Vasquez, Miguel Angel Galvez and Claudia Gonzales in dialogue with Elin Skaar (CMI).

The visiting judges are fighting daily for the rule of law and justice in their home country Guatemala – risking both their own lives as well as the health and safety of their family members.They are struggling for independent courts as a tool against violence and corruption.

The judges will be visiting Bergen as guest of the Human Rights Committee, the Norwegian Judges Association. In an open seminar hosted by the Centre on Law & Social Transformation, the judges will share their experience from their work at the Guatemalan Court for High Risk Crimes and the Femicide Court.

11:30: Food & mingling in the BRC – a light lunch will be served
12:00: Welcome
12:00-13:00: The struggle for independent courts in Guatemala: a panel debate featuring Yassmin Barrios, Haraldo Vasquez, Miguel Angel Galvez, Claudia Gonzales and Daniel Butler in dialogue with Elin Skaar, CMI.
13:00-13:30: Q&A
13:30-14:00: Opportunity to meet the judges over a cup of coffee

The event will be held in Spanish and English.


Judge Claudia Elvira Gonzalez

Current post:  Judge in the Femicide and Other Forms of Violence Against Women Tribunal, Guatemala

Previous positions:
• President of the Criminal Law Tribunal of Mixco, Guatemala (2002-2012)
• Criminal Law Judge (2000-2002)
• Criminal Law Judge in Totonicapan and El Quiché (1998-2000)

Cases of interest
• The first judge to deal with the “Gang Lynching” case
• The “Devil” feminidice case
• The “Bailarina” femicide case

Judge Jorge Haroldo Vasquez Flores

Current post: President of the Criminal Tribunal for Amatitlan (2009 – present)

Previous positions:
• Substitute Judge (2001 – 2009)
• Advisor at the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman´s Office (1991-1997)

• President of the Association of Guatemalan Judges for Integrity (2015-present)
• President of the Association of Judges and Magistrates (Guatemala´s official judges association) (2012 – 2013)
• Member of the Guatemalan Council of the Judicial Career (2009-2011)

Judge Miguel Angel Galvez Aguilar

Current post: First Instance Judge, Major Risk Tribunal B, Guatemala City

Other: Vice-President of the Association of Guatemalan Judges for Integrity (2015-present)

Notable cases:
• The genocide trial against former de facto head of state, Rios Montt (2013)
• High level corruption case known as the La Linea in which former Guatemalan President, Otto Perez Molina, and former Vice President, Roxanna Baldetti are currently facing trial (2015 – on-going)
• The Cristina Siekavizza femicide and disappearance case (2015 – on-going)
• The corruption case known as Terminal de Contenedores Quetzal case (2016)
• The Rosenberg murder case (2010)

Judge Iris Yassmín Barrios Aguilar:

Current post: President of the Major Risk Tribunal A

Cases of interest:
•Assassination of Mon Seignor Gerardi (2001)
•Assassination of Myrna Mack (2004)
•Dos Erres Massacre (2011)
•Plan de Sánchez Massacre
•Murder of El Salvadorian Parliamentarians
•Rios Montt Genocide Case (2013)
•Sepur Zarco sexual slavery case (2016)

Awards and Recognitions
• Human Rights Award (2014, Spain)
• Goler T. Butcher Prize awarded by the American Society of International Law
• Women with Courage, awarded by the USA State Department (2014)
• Women with Courage awarded by the Trein Foundation (2015)

Daniel Butler – Legal Adviser at International Commission of Jurists

Daniel studied law with a specialism in international law at Durham University from 2003-2006. He later graduated with a Masters degree from Nottingham University with Distinction in the area of International Human Rights, Humanitarian and International Criminal Law. He undertook a further year of study and trained to become a solicitor in England and Wales, where he qualified in 2011. Motivated to move towards human rights field work, Daniel moved to Guatemala in 2012 where he volunteered as a human rights field volunteer with human rights NGO, Peace Brigades International. In February 2014, Daniel joined the ICJ Central America as a legal adviser in the themes of judicial independence and the fight against impunity. He works closely with judges in the region, and specialises in promoting law and policy reform, training and other activities promoting judicial independence.