U.N.’s Ban to Guatemala to visit Dall’Anese’s agency

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel to Guatemala next week for a three-day visit that will focus on peacebuilding issues and the Central American country’s efforts to combat impunity.

Ban is set to arrive in Guatemala Tuesday and will meet with President Alvaro Colom and members of his cabinet, the secretary general’s spokesperson, Farhan Haq, told journalists Friday.

Ban will visit the offices of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, Haq said. That is the agency now headed by former Costa Rica chief prosecutor Francisco Dall’Anese.

The United Nations and the Guatemalan Government set up the international commission 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, the commission 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.

During his visit to Guatemala, Ban will also take part in a ceremony to launch the U.N. Peacebuilding Fund’s engagement with the country and meet with representatives of local civil society, including indigenous groups.

The U.N. chief will also attend a meeting with the heads of State of Central American countries to discuss regional issues. Among those who will meet with Ban is President Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica.

This will be Ban’s first visit to Guatemala since he became Secretary-General at the start of 2007.

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