The plan presented by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (known by the Spanish-language acronym CICIG) focuses on four areas to improve the rule of law in the Latin American nation: reducing impunity rates, coordinating Government efforts to fight criminality, eradicating and preventing the emergence of illegal security forces, and raising awareness of the impact that impunity has on a democratic society. The United Nations and the Guatemalan Government set up CICIG in 2006 as an independent body to support the public prosecutors’ office, the national civilian police and other institutions to investigate a limited number of sensitive and difficult cases regarding illegal security groups and clandestine security organizations and also dismantle them. Based in Guatemala City, the capital, since it began operations in early 2008, CICIG seeks to bolster the rule of law and is permitted by its mandate to conduct independent investigations and help authorities bring representative cases to trial in national courts. Accompanying the presentation of the work plan to UN Member States was a high-level delegation of Guatemalan Government and judicial officials, including the nation’s Vice-President and Interior Minister, Attorney General and the presidents of the Congress and Supreme Court. During the plan’s presentation by Commissioner Francisco Javier Dall’Anese Ruiz, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, said the UN Secretariat greatly values the Commission’s work and believes the its efforts deserve the strong support of the international community. According to a new release issued by CICIG, the plan is backed by the Guatemalan authorities as well as Member States who have an interest in supporting the country’s justice system. In the news release, CICIG added that it has progressed greatly with regard to the investigation and criminal prosecution of cases of corruption, money laundering, extra-judicial killings and drug trafficking involving high-ranking State officials and former State officials, businesspersons and illegal drug traffickers. This has led to 135 persons being linked to proceedings on different charges, the Commission noted.
IT WAS SEAGULLS last week, but this week South Dublin residents say council officials must take urgent action against the presence of rats in their estate.Rat sightings in an estate in Clondalkin has angered local residents who say that not enough is being done by South Dublin County Council to solve the problem.Local councillor Trevor Gilligan said that rats have been spotted at the local bus stop at the Glenfield estate, while residents have also seen rats in the nearby field where children often play.Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Gilligan said the sightings of rats is “a regular occurrence”.“One only has to wait five minutes to see the rodents,” he said, adding that residents are unhappy with the council’s response to the problem.Illegal dumping Gilligan said:The council have said that illegal dumping in the area is the main contributing factor to the presence of rodents, however, residents dispute this. While illegal dumping could be aggravating the situation, it is the bushes where the rats are residing which is the biggest concern.Local resident Stephen Sheridan said his wife, who is seven months pregnant, is terrified to use the bus stop. “She has to use it every day and every day she sees a rat at it,” said Sheridan, who said that as she is so heavily pregnant she can not walk to the next stop.“The bushes where the rats are residing border the Font Hill Road. They are extremely overgrown. On Saturday, four rats were seen at the edge of the bushes where there were ten kids playing in the field where the bushes are,”he said.This image from a video captured by children in the area shows a dead rat on the side of the road: Children at play “We have warned the children not to go near the rats if they see them, but kids are kids. This is a health and safety issue that needs action now,” said Sheridan.A statement from South Dublin County Council to TheJournal.ie said they are aware of the situation.The claim that “dumping of waste” is occurring in the area near the hedge and is attracting vermin.In the statement the council suggest that local residents should “part take in Community Cleanup effort. Support is available through for local groups through the Social Credits scheme. Local participation and ownership of areas reduces the occurrence of casual dumping”.The council said that the Public Realm Section will continue to litter pick and collect dumped material. “Where material is found that could be used as evidence to prosecute those responsible, this will be forwarded to the Litter Wardens for attention,” they said.“The hedge will be listed for works in the Arboricultural Program of 2014 and 2015,” they concluded.Hedge cutting Residents have been informed that hedge cutting takes place in the winter months and that none will be done this summer.Sheridan said the response by the council is “not acceptable”.“If we wait until winter to do anything it will be too late. Their plan to wait until wintertime is just not adequate. As the temperatures drop the rodents will be looking for shelter and they could try and get in somewhere. Our major concern is that they will get into homes,” said Sheridan.Gilligan said “while the Tidy Town Group do great work in the area, it shouldn’t be the job of the residents to pick up litter where rats are living”.“We are looking for removal of these bushes and not trimming. The council are the ones who planted them in the first place, and if they can’t maintain them, we want them gone”.Read: A senator wants something done about ‘raucous seagulls stealing children’s lollipops’>Read: 8 creatures who are making your life hell at the moment>